Written by Rhonda Neal
Scripture to Read: Psalm 100
Thanksgiving is the focus of Psalm 100. What is thanksgiving? At the very least, thanksgiving is a social courtesy. We are taught early in life to say “thank you” for receiving an act of kindness. Thanksgiving is a way to honor the giver. Giving thanks is for our own good, with proven health benefits. Thanksgiving is choosing to see the proverbial glass half full. Indeed, thanksgiving is a choice.
God is the mastermind of our existence. We exist because of Him. As God’s creation we are “His people” and “sheep of His pasture.” God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) with open access to Him (John 15:16). Our bond as his people is one of friendship (John 15:15). As His sheep we are able to discern His voice from others. We find comfort in trusting no one is able to “snatch” us away from His care (John 10:24-30). His people are known by name and they are “recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Embedded in the Hebrew word for lovingkindness is the idea of belonging, of involvement in a love relationship.
How could our response to God be less than grand? The Psalmist calls for “all the earth” to joyfully proclaim Him. In Biblical times news traveled by mouth. Important news was shared by shouting out from one location to the next until the entire area heard. Throughout scripture the foundation and focus of the believer’s joy is God. There is joy in serving Jesus!
Demonstrations of gratitude have provided hope and energy in facing the pandemic. First Responders and Health Care Workers across the world have received city-wide rounds of applause as people joined to thank them from balconies and porches. The challenge to pursue an attitude of gratitude is not new to the pandemic crisis. Various social media platforms encourage the sharing of positive thoughts and photos. The 100 Happy Days Challenge and Mom Life Challenge are just a few others to highlight positive pieces of life. The benefits of expressing thanks have been addressed by many in the medical field.
The joyful thanksgiving due God as Creator is far more than blind gratitude born out of positive thinking. In coming before Him we humbly acknowledge we are not self-made. In faith, “we believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) The glory of God will be acknowledged one day when all will bow and confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Psalm 100 closes with a proclamation of truth and hope. “His faithfulness is to all generations.”
A couple of years ago Steve Martin was diagnosed with ALS. Steve was a part of the youth group at a friend’s church when she was in high school. I began following his journey online. He and his family continue to joyfully give thanks.
Posted the evening of May 5, 2020:
“Losing my hands to ALS has been hard. We take our hands for granted…until they’re gone… But do you know what? MY hands are much less important than God’s hands. I am safely in His strong hands. I am being shaped and molded by His masterful hands. And every single step of this difficult journey God has been walking with me, and He has held my weak hands in His mighty one.”
The Lord is faithful.