The True Story of Thanksgiving
Most Americans know the traditional story of Thanksgiving. It was first celebrated in the fall of 1621 by 53 colonists and 93 Wampanoag Indians. It was later designated a national day of thanksgiving by President George Washington in 1789 and proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
However, there is an older story of thanksgiving that far surpasses this American tradition. This true story of thanksgiving is as old as the Bible. In Romans 1:21, the Apostle Paul describes two kinds of people: those who give thanks and those who fail to give thanks. He draws this critical distinction: Those who fail to give thanks are demonstrating the essence of sin—a failure to acknowledge and value God above all other things. Indeed, the entire Bible is the story of thanksgiving – our calling to it and our failure to do it.
You Were Made to Give Thanks
God made you to worship Him. We exist to endlessly thank God. This is why the Bible repeatedly calls us to “give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. If you are struggling to find reasons to give thanks, may I remind you that you have 23,000 reasons to yesterday alone. This is how many times you breathed in and out, on average, yesterday. Each breath a gift from God. Praise Him! Thank Him!
You Have Not Given Thanks
Tragically, we have not done what we were made to do. Our ingratitude towards God mirrors Satan’s in the Garden of Eden. Instead of praising his Maker, he rebelled against Him and deceived Adam and Eve to join him in questioning God’s goodness and provision. Consequently, all mankind has followed suit with heart bent on ingratitude and an unwillingness to be satisfied and content with God’s provision.
You Need Someone Who Has Given Thanks
Praise be to God, somebody has perfectly fulfilled God’s design. Somebody lived in perfect gratitude to God. Somebody never failed to give thanks. This somebody was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who died for thankless sinners like you and me. You need Jesus. You need His mercy and grace. Cry out to him with a broken yet hopeful heart and He will save you from your sin.
You Will Give Thanks Forevermore
And get ready – you will thank this God forevermore. One day, we will enjoy the great marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19)—a thanksgiving meal unlike any you’ve ever enjoyed. We will then and forevermore give thanks and praise the name of the Lord our God.
Until that day come, I invite you to confess your ingratitude, look to Jesus, who died for thankless sinners like you, and thank Him now and forevermore.
Dr. Kyler Smith, Senior Associate Pastor
Hickory Grove Baptist Church