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Thanks. It is a word we use everyday. We say it to be polite, to show social graces. We thank someone for holding the door, or for saying ?God bless you? when we sneeze. More often than not, it is said out of habit and not from the heart.
This month, America gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving. This, too, has come to be more of a habit than a time of heartfelt thanksgiving to the Creator, as the holiday?s first celebrants had done.
I looked at the biblical usage of the words ?thanks,? ?thank,? and ?thanksgiving,? to get a feel of how our spiritual forefathers thought about the subject. What I discovered was quite amazing.
The word ?thank? is found in the Bible 26 times. 21 times it is used in relationship to God (the Father, the Lord), and once for Jesus Christ. Only four times was it used in a slightly different sense: three times in Jesus? sermon on the mount, the Lord asks, ?What thank have ye?? if you do as sinners do; and once, in a parable, He asks whether a master thanks his servant for doing that which he was asked to do.
?Thanksgiving? is used 27 times: always directed toward God.
The word ?thanks,? often found in a variation of the phrase ?giving thanks,? is used 71 times. Once it is used by Paul, ?giving thanks? to Priscilla and Aquila for laying down their necks for his life. Once, we are told of a man who received thanks of a leper whom he had cured. That man happened to be the man Christ Jesus. The remaining 69 times, God is the recipient of the thanks.
The Bible gives overwhelming evidence that it is God who deserves all the thanks. He is great, and has done great things. As we gather this Thanksgiving, let us render unto God the things which are God?s: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
?So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations,? and we will publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all His wondrous works (Psa. 79:13; 26:7).
David M. McNabb
Editor & Bible Guy