There is no doubt that you, everyone else, and I are well blessed by God. This fact is a given. But, the rub is, do you feel well blessed by God? If you do not feel well blessed by God, it is probably because you have never been thankful for the evident ways in which He has blessed you. I have known people like that. Such people do not seem to have a rich experience in life.
Nonetheless, it has been both my experience and observation that God blesses best those who are most thankful. We need to remember that being thankful cannot be based merely on quantity, but on quality, for, when God blesses, He blesses with such that is good. If you are looking solely for quantity of blessing before you become thankful, your thanksgivings will have no quality. Conversely, when you carefully measure the goodness of God’s blessings, you cannot help but to observe that He has blessed you abundantly.
I particularly note this point from a time when our family was having a certain crisis which took Mom out of the home, and cooking chores were my responsibility. My boys have never liked my cooking. It was during this time that Sandra Cokeley brought us a big pot of creamed lima beans. The boys hit that pot like a blight! My feelings were genuinely hurt, for how many kids will eat creamed lima beans without being threatened?
But, they clearly saw the extreme value of the blessing presented to them. Jeshua prayed with passionate thanksgiving at meal time for the quality of the blessing, “LO—OO—R-R-D! We are so very thankful for what is in this pot. We give you thanks for Ms. Cokeley who thought enough of us boys to fix this WONDERFUL (!) pot of lima beans! Help these lima beans to nourish our bodies. Thank you so much. LO—OO—R-R-D! Amen.”
Would they have preferred mac-and-cheese? Probably. But, the quality of the blessing from the Lord was recognized by each of them in that moment. It is noteworthy that since that day, neither of our sons have eaten a single lima bean!
In contrast, it is good ethically to give God thanks, because God deserves it. As Jesus pointed out, God takes care of the sparrow. If He does that, the Lord reasoned, He takes care of us all the more. People who are truly thankful understand that God is truly the source and supply of all that we have. The Psalmist said, “I have been young, and now I am old. Yet, I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread. He is ever merciful…”
It is good practically to give God thanks, because it helps us to maintain proper perspective. The Psalmist pointed out that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. As He disperses His blessings on mankind, it is clear that some are given (so to speak) more cattle than others. However, if we truly appreciate our specific blessing, God somehow gives us the perspective that we are blessed above all others. We do not have to be jealous of what others have. Class envy is relegated to a non-issue, a non-concern. As said another psalmist, “A brutish man does not know this. Neither, does a fool understand this.”
It is good emotionally to be thankful to God, because it lifts the heart. This is particularly effective when it is remembered that thanksgiving is not only given for how He has provided, but also for how God is going to provide. You may be concerned about how certain things will be taken care. You may be unsure about days ahead. But, it is good to thank God for what you might expect Him to do. I learned a long time ago that it is uplifting to give thanks today for tomorrow, for it fills one with faith and encouragement.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul. And all that is within me, bless His Holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Blessing God richly, o most certainly, makes for an enriched life.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.