Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away. I’m continually surprised that our country has a day of thanks, but thankful for it! A day to reflect on what has been given to us, and often not from our own effort. Memorial Day is a day to remember those lost in battles and Veteran’s Day is a day to thank those who serve or served in the armed forces and go to battle for us. On those days we say thank you to those who helped give us freedoms in our country. Thanksgiving Day is a day to recognize the One who gave us so much that we didn’t do for ourselves – our freedom, our family, our material possessions, the hope, His grace, His mercy, all these we receive because of the One who did something for us that we couldn’t do ourselves and we give thanks.
The idea of giving thanks to God shows up in the Bible over 150 times. Lee and I just finished teaching through Colossians with our Connect Group and giving thanks is written by Paul at least once in each chapter. All that Jesus has done for us merits great thanks, praise, gratitude.
The definition of the word humble, or humility, is “not proud or haughty; not arrogant; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.” Thanksgiving leads us to a place of humility. Offering praise requires us to recognize that we are not better than the Giver. Offering thanks requires us to recognize that we are not better than others. Gratitude and the attitude of thanksgiving is a sure fire way towards humility. Allowing our hearts to reflect on all that we’ve been given that we don’t deserve hopefully translates into words of praise, songs of joy, and giving thanks to those around us.
My sister was born when I was a moody and selfish 13 year-old. When she was 2, I was an even more moody and selfish 15 year-old. While my 2 year old sister was in a short-lived season of enjoying the opportunity to do things for others, I was a teenager ready to take advantage of it. When you asked Jennifer to go get your shoes for you or go get the remote control, she would reply in the most sweetest tone, “Sure!” It was the best! She wanted to do whatever you asked! Like I mentioned, I took advantage of this, and, I never said thank you. My attitude was, “finally I have a younger sibling to boss around!” It translated into an attitude of “I deserve this.” This pride and arrogance was easily seen in my heart and in my outward expressions. Of course, Jennifer got smarter and less willing to say “sure,” and I grew out of the teenage years, but slowly growing out of selfishness. What a process!
When our attitude is one of “I deserve” or “this person is required to do this for me” we are showing that our pride and arrogance is ever at the forefront. Thanksgiving is a path towards humility. Giving sincere thanks to God and to others is an act of humility. God has said “Sure!” many times to my requests in this life, but it’s not because I deserve it! It is because he’s a loving, faithful, and caring God. Giving thanks is not about what we did, but about who God is and HE deserves our praise and thanksgiving and attitude of humility.