Many recognize the power of thankfulness in their lives. At this time of the year we have even set aside a special day to promote a sense of thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings.
A mark of Christianity in our society has long been the prayer of thanksgiving, especially at meal time. In that regard,, mealtime has become the Christian prayer time for many. In fact, the prayer of thankfulness is often cited as the noblest form of prayer, surpassing the prayer of petition in which the supplicant requests God’s favor.
As I consider the biblical call to thanksgiving, I wonder whether we truly recognize how to give expression to our gratitude to God for His many blessings. Tradition would say that we demonstrate our thankfulness by communicating the same directly to God in prayers, most often expressed verbally. This gives rise to the habit many have of praying out loud before every meal. While this practice may encourage a moment’s reflection on God goodness, I suspect it easily becomes a ritual with little associated consideration of just how fortunate we are as compared with the many. Simply mouthing a verbal “Thank you, Lord” can devolve to a self promoting act of public piety all too easily.
Jesus taught pointedly that as we treat our fellowmen, we treat God. With that thought in mind, I would conclude that a truer demonstration of thanksgiving would be to use our blessings to extend blessings to others. To the extent we prosper, our thankfulness should cause us to contribute to the well being of our fellow men. Life circumstances vary dramatically from one person to another. For those who enjoy the blessings of life to share with others who are less fortunate is a much more powerful display of true gratitude than a million spoken words could ever be.