The Importance of Being Thankful
After God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, rescuing them from the oppression of Pharaoh and leading them on dry ground through the midst of the Red Sea, Moses made this statement to the nation: “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place.” (Exodus 13:3)
Moses proceeds to both encourage and warn the people of Israel that they must remember the works of God, be thankful for His works, and honor Him as the only Lord. If they forgot what He did, grumbled about their situation and turned to other Gods, they would once again suffer.
As we read through the Bible, we find that this encouragement and warning are true. When the Kings of Israel lead their nation in obedience to God and thankfulness for His works, God blesses them in all that they do. But—when they disobey, grumble and turn from Him chaos usually follows, along with misery and misfortune.
What can we learn from this? Well, we can learn to remember and be thankful. Our memories are often too short, and we forget what God has done in our lives and the lives of those around us. “Remembering” is a discipline of the Christian life. We must practice it daily in order to keep God’s works before us, reminding us of His personal involvement in our lives. Are you in the habit of reflecting at the end of the day, reviewing God’s activity and intervention? Do you pause at the end of the month or year to remember God’s faithfulness to you and your family and friends?
Once we “remember,” we must turn to “thanksgiving.” As another discipline of the Christian walk, thanksgiving should be more than a once-a-year holiday. Daily expression of thanksgiving, based on remembering God’s works in our lives, will help us to keep the reality of God’s presence in our mind—even as our culture tries to convince us that God is distant and unconcerned with everyday life.
Our national holiday of Thanksgiving can be a launching point for your practice of “remembering and thanksgiving.” Take time before Thanksgiving Day to practice. Notice at least one thing to be thankful for each day. Share those thanksgivings around the dinner table, or when meeting with friends. Take a moment to jot a note to those you will be seeing on Thanksgiving Day and ask them to be prepared to share at least one thing for which they are thankful.
Be a catalyst for thanksgiving in the lives of those around you. Remember and be thankful.