Several times a month, I share communion with people in their homes. I usually read Paul’s directions given in I Corinthians 11:23-26. In this passage, Paul tells us, “On the night he was betrayed He gave thanks.” On the night that Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver; on the night Peter denied knowing him three times; on the night that his disciples fled; on the night he was beaten and falsely accused. On that night, he broke bread and shared the cup, and “gave thanks.”

I had read that passage many times sharing communion but the words “gave thanks” never registered before what Jesus did while under stress. He was able to give thanks. It is easy to give thanks when everything is going okay. I might ask how can I give thanks when everything is going wrong. Why should I give thanks when my life is falling apart?

Giving thanks and counting our many blessings gives us hope and courage. If all we do is pray about our problems, we are only recognizing half of the truth. God is always at work. Even in our difficulties, God is present. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul writes from prison and tells us to rejoice in the Lord. He tells us to pray about everything with thanksgiving. Giving thanks turns our mind and heart to the One who can make a difference. We begin praying with faith. Our attitude begins to change from defeat and discouragement to hope and the assurance that God is always present and working.

During this Thanksgiving month, we are encouraged to give thanks to others and to God. Thanksgiving is to be more than one month a year. In Romans: 1:21, the apostle Paul says that the first step away from God, and any relationship, is failure to give thanks. We begin to take life for granted and think that God’s gifts are given because we deserve them. Then we begin to think that we are the creator of all our good gifts. If you want to strengthen your relationship with the Lord, with your spouse and family, and with your co-workers, open your eyes to what they have done and give thanks.

In Deuteronomy 28:47, God warns the Israelites of the curses that will come upon them “because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything.” Don’t take the gifts of life for granted but realize according to James 1:17, “every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” As followers of Christ, we are to be thankful people since we have been given grace and shown mercy.  

Psalm 147:1 tells us that “praise is pleasant and fitting.” It looks good on us. Psalm 100:4 says we are to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” Our prayer life, our worship life, and even our relationships will be transformed when we give thanks and count our many blessings.   

This Thanksgiving month, be thankful for all God has shown us, done for us, and given us. Don’t wait until our stomachs are stuffed with turkey. Ask God to open our eyes each day to His goodness and love. Count your many blessings, and you will be surprised at all that God has done. When we do, our attitudes will change, our relationships with change, and our witness will be expanded.

Pastor David Shimeall