Let Us Give Thanks


 


“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” —Psalm 116:17


 


THROUGHOUT THE United States, on the fourth Thursday of November, millions of people will, for a few hours, turn away from the regular pursuits of life and, in a way at least, give thanks to God for the blessings
of the year. Among these will be many sincere worshipers of God, those who at
heart are desirous of doing his will in all that they think, and say, and do.
With many, Thanksgiving Day will be one of feasting and merrymaking, and happy
indeed will be those who remember that all the blessings of life which they
enjoy from day to day come to them from the Giver of every good and perfect
gift, even the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth.


 


It is appropriate at all times to give thanks to the Lord, and followers of the Master do not wait for special occasions to express their appreciation to their Heavenly Father for the spiritual and material blessings
which are daily their portion. The Apostle Paul wrote that we should give
thanks in everything, and if we follow this admonition every day will be one of
thanksgiving. Every hour of the day there will be much for which our hearts
will turn to the Lord in grateful appreciation.


 


It is also appropriate that we observe special occasions of thanksgiving. At such times we can recall in a more particular sense the many ways in which the Lord has blessed us throughout the year, and recalling these,
renew our determination to show our appreciation to him. We are glad for a
special occasion to “give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy
endureth for ever.”—Ps. 106:1


CAUSES FOR THANKFULNESS


 


There is never a time in the Christian life when the blessings received from the Lord are not more abundant than we could reasonably ask or expect. If we are not in the habit of noting from day to day the many
ways in which the Lord manifests his blessings toward us, we will be surprised,
when noting them, to realize what the Lord has really done for us. We can
never, of course, count all of our blessings, and should we attempt to do so,
we would find, even as did the psalmist, that “they are more than can be
numbered.”—Ps. 40:5


 


Many of the Lord’s blessings are common to all of his people, differing only in the manner in which they apply to their individual experiences in life. Along physical lines there are the blessings of the
sunshine and the rain; of food, shelter, and raiment. To all of his people the
Lord gives spiritual strength and guidance. He fills them with his Spirit in
proportion as they are emptied of self and devote themselves to the doing of
his will. How thankful indeed we should all be for the assurance that he is
more willing to give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him than is an earthly
parent to give good gifts to his children!—Luke 11:13


 


We can all be thankful for the Lord’s grace that through another year has kept us from falling, that we are still rejoicing in the truth and in the privilege we have of laying down our lives in his service. This is a
great cause for thankfulness. True, we expected that the Lord would continue to
hold us in the hollow of his hand, for we relied upon his grace to help in
every time of need. But we recall the Apostle Peter’s admonition in which he
informs us that it is only if we “do these things” that we can have the
assurance that we shall “never fall.” (II Pet. 1:10) If, therefore, we have
been kept from falling by the wayside, it means that the Lord has been pleased
with our efforts to do his will, and that it is because of this that he has
blessed us with his sustaining grace.


THE BLESSING OF THE TRUTH


 


Those who have known about the Lord’s Divine plan for many years can be thankful that throughout these years the Lord has become ever more precious and that his truth has continued in brilliance as they understand it
more. That such have maintained a clear vision of the great fundamentals of
that plan is evidence of the Lord’s keeping power in their lives. They have no
will of their own, but are determined that his will only shall rule supreme in
their lives, regardless of what that might mean in the way of sacrificing the
flesh and its interests.


 


Others have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth within more recent years. How we rejoice with them! It is impossible to adequately give thanks to the Lord for opening the eyes of our understanding in
order that we might, through the vision of present truth, behold his glory.
This we know, however, that whereas once we were spiritually blind, now we can
see, and oh, how glorious the vision that enables us to comprehend the Divine
plan for the blessing of both the church and the world. May our ‘first love’ for
the Lord and for his truth never grow cold! May our appreciation increase
daily, and our thankfulness overflow more and more!


HEARTS FAILING FOR FEAR


 


Today the world is filled with fear as they see the gathering forces of anarchy. We see our Lord Jesus’ words fulfilled: “Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which
are coming on the earth.”—Luke 21:25,26


 


People in the world know the probability of the frightful destruction that will be wrought as opposing forces of conflicting ideologies seek to conquer one another—or at least subdue the other by the use of the
heart-sickening modern methods of war. Poor world! It knows not that our present
Lord, at the exact moment called for in the Divine timetable, will intervene
and set in motion the agencies of his mediatorial kingdom to bring peace and
joy and life to all mankind!


 


Jesus spoke of the prophetic “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21) Truth’s vision enables us to see beyond the troublous seas, and to know that soon there will be a
great calm, when, by the administrative powers of the Messianic kingdom, the
people will be guided into their desired haven of security and peace. To have
this assurance is truly great cause for thankfulness.


JOYS OF FELLOWSHIP


 


During the year, many have been richly blessed through the privilege of fellowship with one another. How spiritually stimulating this has been! And if our fellowship has been truly that of the Spirit, it has meant
much more than merely rejoicing together in the Lord. Of those who speak
‘often’ together concerning the Divine plan, the prophet tells us that the Lord
hearkens, that he hears, and that a “book of remembrance was written.” (Mal.
3:16,17) Even where “two or three” (Matt. 18:20) join in fellowship, the Lord
is in their midst; and how we should praise him for the blessing he thus
bestows upon those who gather in his name.


 


The Lord has continued to give his people opportunities to serve him by serving one another, and by bearing witness to the truth. Surely we should always be thankful for our privileges of ambassadorship. (II Cor.
5:20) Many of these opportunities have been ours as individuals. Individually,
we have been able to speak a word for the Master and for the truth, perhaps to
a neighbor, or a friend, or to someone in the world. Those who have enjoyed
these experiences know that there is no time when the Lord seems so near to them,
and when his truth is a greater inspirational power in their lives, than when
they are explaining it to others, especially to those who earnestly want to
know and give evidence that the Lord has blessed them with hearing ears and
understanding hearts.


 


Thus we all share in the joys resulting from the knowledge that here and there throughout the world the light of truth is, for the first time, shining into the hearts and lives of those to whom the Lord has given the
ability to see. How much would we take for our knowledge of the truth? We know
that it is priceless, and that it means more to us than life itself. How
thankful we should be, then, that by our sacrifices this priceless treasure has
become the blessed possession of others.


MODERN DAY MIRACLE


 


The evidence is irrefutable that the Lord is with his people today even as he was with his servants in ancient times. We are awestricken and inspired when we read the experience of Moses at the burning bush. ‘A miracle’,
we say, and truly it was. But was the setting on fire of a bush more of a
miracle than proclaiming the kingdom message by methods that carry it into
millions of homes every week? We think not! Even though the radio and
television may have become commonplace and accepted as normal in this modern
age, the fact is that the Lord has, through the cooperative efforts of his
people, made possible these methods of disseminating the kingdom message. This
in itself is a miracle!


 


When the Lord spoke to Moses at the burning bush, he was bidden to take off his shoes, with the explanation that the place where he was standing was “holy ground.” (Exod. 3:5) Should we not feel the same way
concerning the ground on which we are standing today: is it not a higher ground
of opportunity and honor to which the Lord has now led his people? Realizing
the sacredness of the position which is now ours of being the Lord’s
ambassadors, let us give attentive ears to his voice, and respond loyally as he
makes clear the various ways he wants us to lay down our lives for him. Surely
we can do no less at this thanksgiving time of the year than to echo the
sentiments of the psalmist when he wrote:


 


“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.”—Ps. 116:17,18

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