Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God (Philippians 1:3 NLT).
It is that time of the year where many of us are in the mood of celebrating another Thanksgiving holiday. This tradition goes back centuries; as the Founders of Canada and United States of America saw it fitting to pause and give thanks to God for abundant harvest.[i] Over the years, Thanksgiving tradition has evolved to include giving thanks to God for our families, friends, businesses, and our beloved countries for the abundance of peace and prosperity, not forgetting the security and good health we’re all enjoying today.
In today’s global village, the reality is, the pains and suffering which seem to be the new normal disruptions of our peace and security inadvertently leave us with little or no option to see the good around us; let alone to give thanks for them. However, a break from our daily routine; with an imaginary view from our balconies will flood our memories with tons of unforgettable gratitude. Memories of our upbringing with our parents, our time in school, our interactions with our friends and co-workers, a quality time with our nuclear family, our ability to move around, the social structures and benefits we enjoy in our countries, our associations with our church families and leaders are all pure blessings from God.
It is easy to keep mum over our blessings and wallow in self-pity by allowing defeatist attitude to wear us down. It is easy to see nothing but gloom all around us. It is equally easy to see ourselves wandering and meandering through cycles of hopelessness thrusting us into abysmal pits. God knows how quickly man’s memory could fade away with time; either because of plenty or lack thereof. For this reason, he told the Israelites; 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:10-18).
Such a passage gives us insight into the nature of God, and his ongoing interaction with humanity. We are often motivated to thank God, when we see him as a loving, caring Father. The closeness of his providential hand on us in our time of scarcity and adversity, invoke in us, a new sense of optimism and courage to face the future. Fear then gives way to faith; and despair to hope. Our lives then will be filled with gratitude; flowing from within us ceaseless thanksgiving in appreciation of the greatness and goodness of our God – an acknowledgement of him as the source of our blessings; and not because of anything we’ve done.
The Apostle Paul was one individual who saw the need to give thanks to God and man. During his time in prison in Rome, he received material help from the congregation in Philippi. In his appreciation, he said; Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God (Philippians 1:3). These words though simple, they were so profound to the Philippians. They were encouraged, when they realized that, their little contribution has gone a long way to alleviate some of the hardships facing Paul. This is the power of thanksgiving!
As humans, we do encourage ourselves through simple courtesy by saying “Thank You” to people who may open or hold the door for us, or buy us a cup of coffee; or recommend us to someone who could help us. Anyone who is wont of saying “Thank You” will realize that, with time, it becomes part of him – he does it effortlessly without any reservation. The collective and individual appreciations we show to others would definitely have positive outcome on the overall well being of those around us. We become elated consciously or unconsciously when someone will say “Thank You” to us. At that moment, we feel a sense of worthiness that our small or big acts of kindness have been recognized and that, someone has taken the time to appreciate us.
During this Thanksgiving holidays, it will be great for us, as community of believers to express our appreciation to somebody. Just a simple card, a phone call, a text message, an email, a hug, a handshake or thumbs up to somebody – a parent, a spouse, a son, a daughter, a teacher, a co-worker, a manager, a supervisor, a community leader, a neighbor, a church member, a church leader or a pastor will surely motivate them to do more good for others; and the wellbeing of those around us will increase exponentially.
Jesus knows the importance of Thanksgiving; and couldn’t understand why only one of the ten lepers he healed came back to thank him. Luke’s account explains; 11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).
Saints, in humility, let's continue to express our “Thank You” to anyone who would help us; so we could count on such people whenever we need them.
I want to leave you with a reflection on Martin Rinkart’s hymn; NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD
1. Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
[i] www.google.ca. Accessed on September 28th 2016 @ 2:25 pm EST
1. My second book titled; Understanding Love: Biblical & Cultural Perspectives will be launched on Sunday October 22 2017 at De Runa Banquet Hall (Disciples Revival Church). The address is: 30 Gordon Mackay Road, Toronto, M9N 2V6. Time is 2pm. Those of you in the Greater Toronto Area are all invited.
2. We will be grateful if you are able to support us financially to continue with our orphanage and church planting programs in Africa; as well as our Radio Ministry and community engagement programs. You may send your donations by mail or through our website at www.disciplesrevivalchurhch.org and click on the donation page.
Check our website at www.disciplesrevivalchurch.org to see our 25th Anniversary photos. There are other study materials to help you grow in the Lord.
We are happy to announce that Disciples Revival Church is now on social media. You can like us on Facebook at disciplesrevivalchurchtoronto or Twitter: @disciplesrevive find us on YouTube as well. You can also tune in and listen live sermons on our multicultural radio station by visiting our website at www.disciplesrevivalchurch.org; on Saturdays at 6:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Use any of our contact links to communicate with us whether it is a prayer request or anything you want to share with us. In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for each other.
Rev. Dr. & Rev. (Mrs.) Charles & Faustina Mantey
Disciples Revival Church
30 Gordon Mackay Road
Toronto, Ontario M9N 2V6. Canada