Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, and many are beginning to prepare to have their family members over for a large dinner. The holiday was designed to give people an opportunity to consider the blessings they have received, and to give thanks for all of them. While mankind may designate a day to consider giving thanks for the bounty of their lives, we as Christians ought to be constantly considering the goodness of God, and how many great blessings we derive from Him (Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Let us now consider just a few of the many blessings for which we ought to give thanks constantly.
Spiritual blessings. God has blessed us greatly in spiritual ways. As it is written in Ephesians 1:3:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Thanks be to God that He has not withheld any spiritual blessing from us! Let us consider some specific spiritual blessings that we have received.
Salvation in Christ. God loved us so much that He was willing to send His Son to die on our behalf so that we could have the remission of our sins (cf. John 3:16). The blood of Christ is indeed a gift, the manifestation of the grace of God, doing that which we could never do: allow for the forgiveness of our sin (Romans 3:23-27). We ought to thank God for the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)!
Association with God. Not only has God seen fit to give us of His Son, He also has desired to have association with us mortals (1 John 1:3). The Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, the All-Powerful Eternal One, seeks men to seek Him and to communicate with Him in prayer (cf. John 4:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Praise God that He would love us so!
The Church. God, in His wisdom, established the church to provide His saints a means of constant encouragement (Ephesians 5:22-32, Hebrews 10:24-25). He could have left us on our own as individuals to try to defeat the wiles of Satan and to stand firm, yet He recognized that we often get discouraged and need mutual encouragement to continue to press on in Christ (Galatians 6:1-2). While the church is made of imperfect people, and sometimes we feel that she provides discouragement more than encouragement, consider how much harder it would be to be a Christian and to preach the faith in the community without your fellow Christians and their association. Thank God that we have association in like precious faith!
The Scriptures. As it is written in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.
God did not leave His children on earth without any guidance. Furthermore, while God inspired men to speak and preach and teach, He did not leave His message only in the oral form, but inspired men to write His will down so that it could be communicated from generation to generation with less corruption (2 Peter 1:29-21). We now can use His word to guide our behavior, and be equipped for every good work. Let us thank God for providing us the guidebook to Heaven!
Physical blessings. While many other spiritual blessings could be considered, let us also consider the many blessings of this life with which God has provided us.
The creation. We have the blessing of the earth and all that is contained therein (Genesis 1). Earth is just right for life, and we have all we need and then some within it. Let us thank God for this blessing!
Family, friends, and other close associations of the flesh. God saw clearly that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). The direct result was that God made woman to assist man (cf. Genesis 2:19-23), and the marriage of a man and a woman represents the basic family unit in the Bible. Parents and extended family and friends, moreover, also exist to provide support and association in life (cf. Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, etc.) Let us give thanks to God for the family and friends we have in life!
Relative prosperity and health. We, as Americans, are particularly blessed people. While some may have more wealth and possessions than others, we all share a level of prosperity heretofore unheard of in the world, known only to the most socially advanced people of the past. In general, we also benefit from a portion of health greater and better than known in other countries and in the past. Let us remember the responsibility contained within this wealth (cf. 1 Timothy 6:17-19), and thank God for our bounty!
These are but a few of the blessings of God for which we ought to give thanks. Let us constantly praise God with a voice of thanksgiving for all He has done (1 Corinthians 14:16, Colossians 3:16)!