I love Thanksgiving! The fall weather, the changing leaves, the delicious food, and the fun family memories all mark this special time of the year. Most of us will gather together with family and friends over a large table of food and enjoy time together consuming inordinate amounts of turkey! Most of us will also pause to say a prayer of thanksgiving to our great God who has provided all these wonderful things for us. As you do, I encourage you to think about all God has done for you. He created you, loved you and chose you. He sent his only Son to pay the price for your sin on the cross. He has redeemed, adopted, and reconciled you to himself. Oh how much we have to be thankful for!
In the Bible, again and again we are told to give thanks to the Lord. In fact more than 100 times we are exhorted to give thanks. But there is something else in many of these passages that is extremely important and often overlooked.
Psalm 9:1 – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, I will tell of your wonderful deeds.”
Psalm 26:7 – “I will proclaim thanksgiving aloud, and tell of all your wondrous deeds.”
Psalm 57:9 – “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.”
Psalm 79:13 – “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”
Isaiah 12:4 – “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
2 Corinthians 2:14 – “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.”
What stands out to me in these verses is that the natural outflow of thankfulness is to spread the good news of what God has done for us. Because of what he has done, I can’t help but tell everyone about it! As followers of Jesus, we are now his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). He has given us a mission to fulfill and a message to proclaim. The sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of believers in America today will never share the gospel with anyone. It is as if we are saying to God, “Thank you for saving me, but I’m not going to tell anyone else about it.” We are thankful to be saved, but not very excited about the mission he gave us. So we effectively say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Please hear me. It is impossible to accept His salvation without also accepting His mission. A follower of Jesus makes other followers of Jesus. A disciple makes other disciples. It is an essential part of our new identity in Christ. So this is my challenge for all of us this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Be abundantly thankful for all that God has done for you and then make his deeds known to everyone around you. When you say “Happy Thanksgiving,” be sure to tell them what you are thankful for! This season will give us many opportunities to share the gospel with others! Don’t miss it!