by Johnathan Arnold
"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." (2 Corinthians 4:15)
The King James translators chose the word "redound" from the Latin redundare meaning to surge like a wave—an explosive wave of thanksgiving to the glory of God! The Greek carries the idea of "overflowing" like a cornucopia. The more thanksgiving, the more glory God receives.
The glorification of God is the ultimate purpose of our jubilant thanksgiving. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, emphasis added). This Thanksgiving season will be characterized by eating and drinking. But will we consciously lift up our eating and drinking as God-glorifying acts of worship?
Thank God for His Gifts
This year for the Thanksgiving service at our church, we focused on exploring our spiritual blessings rather than material ones. Of course, we are grateful for our material blessings and the "heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of all these things." (This is why Matthew 6:31-32 encourages us to "take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"). However, the service was a refreshing reminder of the blessings that flow to God's children which the world knows nothing about.
Family traditions vary. Some take turns sharing blessings around the table. Others snatch a handful of beans or corn kernels from a dish and share a blessing for each one. Perhaps it is time to start a Thanksgiving tradition in your home for the first time this year. However you express thanks, let us take special care to say "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
Our spiritual blessings are many: justification, redemption, adoption, the indwelling Spirit, peace, wisdom, and so on. Most of all, we should remember the One through whom all these blessings flow. We should thank God for the gift of His Son. Colossians 3:17 says to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Speaking of the Son, Paul thanks God for his indescribable, inexpressible gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Thank God for God
If we are conscious of the glory of God this Thanksgiving—and intentionally offer the kind of thanksgiving that redounds to that glory—we will soon realize there is nothing better to thank God for than who He is. God is glorified when His character is well-reflected. "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name" (Psalm 103:1).
God is good, sovereign, our helper, an ever-present friend, on our side, mighty, merciful, and abounding in grace. "Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 106:1). "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods" (Psalm 95:2-3).
Indeed, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17), but the Father of lights is Himself the greatest gift. The greatest gift is the gift-giver, and He has offered His fullness to us in the Person of Jesus. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). God shared His glory with us—and it is miraculous! Let us consider the awesome fact that the Light of the world has shined in our hearts. Then we will say with the Psalmist, "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1).
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