Do you remember the classic poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning that starts, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”? She proceeds to cite many and varied ways in which she indeed loves the object of her devotion. On this Thanksgiving Day, perhaps it would be useful to pause a few moments from the day’s festivities to think about God and ask, “How do I thank Thee?”
You certainly can compile a list of your own and I’d encourage you to do so. But maybe it would help to offer some “candidates” for our thanks to get us started:
- Every morning when we awaken, we have received the gift of another day, with many opportunities and possibilities.
That’s no small blessing.
- If we have a roof over our head, some clothes in the closet and food on the table, we can be thankful for God’s provision.
- Looking into the garage or the driveway in front of our house, do we see a vehicle ready to take us wherever we need to go? Reliable transportation is another blessing we shouldn’t take for granted.
- Looking around us, we might see beloved family members and friends, treasured relationships we have been given and enabled to nurture and deepen over time.
- Whenever we turn on the TV to watch a holiday parade or football game, go to our computer to catch up on email or go to a favorite website, or receive a friendly text, we can give thanks for advancements in technology that our grandparents could never have imagined.
- If we were able to attend a Thanksgiving service or plan to attend a worship service this weekend, we can be thankful for the freedom to worship as we choose, a freedom not available to many people around the globe.
This list could go on and on. In his second letter to the ancient church in Corinth, the apostle Paul writes about thanksgiving from a perspective many of us would not have considered – being able to give materially to benefit others.
After citing a key principle of sowing and reaping, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously,” and observing that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), the apostle moves on to the subject of how we can inspire the giving of thanks:
“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your store of seed and will increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous on every occasion, so that through us your giving will produce thanksgiving to God. For this ministry of service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10-12).
Have you ever thought about giving thanks for the ability to give from our personal treasure and resources, as well as of our time and talents? As a friend told me years ago, “the greatest poverty is the inability to give.” Although there are always things we can want, many of us already have more than we need. What a blessing and a privilege to be rich enough to give from our abundance to assist those in meeting their needs.
Sometimes we’re reluctant to give with generosity, thinking we must keep in mind our own needs. At such times it might be wise to remember how extravagantly God has given to us, most notably the reminder we find in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
It is no wonder that as Paul completed his exhortation to the Corinthians about bountiful, even hilarious giving, he concluded with this declaration: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). As the old hymn says of Jesus Christ, “He gave His life, what more could He give?” This Thanksgiving, let’s consider how many ways we can thank Him for what He has done for us.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.