BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Giving thanks is not what many people do often because when they look at their lives, they believe there is nothing worth thanking God for. They convince themselves that thanking God might be right for those He has showered His blessings on, but not right for them. They would claim that God knew He was yet to do anything for them, so thanking Him would embarrass Him! This is not correct.
There is no one who does not have a reason to thank God. When we can’t think, we can’t give thanks. A thoughtful person will be a thankful person. Someone complaining that he has no shoes will thank God when he sees another person without a leg!
Oftentimes, we are ungrateful for God’s kindness and manifold blessings in our lives. We are so concerned about what is yet to happen that we fail to see what has happened. We remember, so constantly, answers to prayers that are yet to manifest and we forget answers to prayers we’re already enjoying. How ungrateful we are! We regularly violate God’s instruction concerning giving thanks. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV).
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). The New Century Version says, “And give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.”
From this scripture, you could see that there is no wrong time to thank God because it says to give thanks to God in all circumstances, which include positive and negative, favourable and unfavourable, etc. Give thanks whatever happens.
Also, Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (NKJV).
From the Word of God, I want to share with you 20 reasons you should give thanks to God. This should encourage you to cultivate a lifestyle of thanksgiving.
As you’ll see, these reasons are beyond our usual reasons for thanking God. Thanking God is not only about what He has done for you that you can see. Even if you think God has not done anything for you (and that is not true) you still owe Him an obligation to thank Him. You should thank God for the following reasons:
1. Because of His name and His greatness. The Bible talks of all the tribes of Israel—the LORD’s people—making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires (Psalm 122:4). God also requires thanks from us, too, as the spiritual Israelites. We are also expected to thank Him because of His greatness – He is a great God. “Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:2-3 NLT).
2. Because of His holiness. God deserves your thanks because of His holiness. Always remember this and give Him thanks even if answers to your prayers are yet to manifest for you to share testimony before the congregation and friends. Psalm 106:47 says, “Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you” (NLT).
3. Because He is good and His mercy (steadfast love) endures forever. God’s mercy, His steadfast love, does not exist for a season; it does not exist temporarily. It exists forever, and we are alive today because of His mercy. If not for His mercy, His love, that fails not, where would you and I have been? We need to appreciate Him for His mercy. “Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). Psalms 107:1 and 118:1, 29 say a similar thing: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” All the twenty-six verses of Psalm 136 tell us His mercy endures forever, and for this, He deserves our thanks.
4. Because of His unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (KJV). Other translations render the word “unspeakable” as priceless, indescribable, and too wonderful for words. The New Living Translation says, “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” Paul was most probably referring to the priceless gift of Jesus Christ our Saviour. The greatest gift He has given us is His Son. Gift unspeakable! Don’t you think Jesus is a wonderful gift to the world? When last did you thank God for the gift of His Son?
5. Because of your salvation and the salvation of others. When last did you thank God for your salvation, the salvation of your loved ones, and of others? Don’t we usually take that for granted? We don’t often thank Him for this except to complain about what He is yet to do for us. We’re more concerned about that promotion we’ve been expecting, that top-flight job we’ve been praying for, that house we’ve been asking God for the money to buy, etc. “As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NLT).
Prior to this, Paul had, in his first letter, thanked God for the people receiving the Word of God and accepting it as God’s Word and not man’s word. “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV). This is a good lesson for the preachers of the Word.
It is a sin to take salvation for granted. Salvation may be free, but somebody paid for it; Jesus paid for it with His own life. He died on the cross as if He was a criminal, when, in fact, He never sinned. When people open their hearts to hear and accept the Word of God, God deserves our thanks. When they give their lives to Jesus, God is worth our thanksgiving. In addition, when these new believers keep standing in the faith, despite all trials and afflictions, we ought to give thanks to God. Paul said, “Therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?” (1 Thessalonians 3:7-10 NKJV)
6. Because of God’s righteous judgment. Our God is a righteous judge. His righteousness is evident in His judgments. Psalm 119:62 says, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments” (KJV). The New Living Translation refers to “righteous judgment” as just regulations. God’s instructions are not harsh. It’s the devil that lies to us that they are harsh and he deceives us, telling us that he loves us more than God. That was the lie he told Eve in the Garden of Eden. Every sin starts with a lie told to somebody by the devil. God’s instructions, laws, or commandments are for our own good (Deuteronomy 10:13). God is not against us. We become our own enemies when we violate His Word.
7. Because giving thanks is the will of God for you. Thanksgiving is God’s will for you in all circumstances therefore you should be obedient and give Him thanks. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
What this scripture means is that when we fail to give thanks in certain circumstances for the reason (s) best known to us, we are outside the will of God. There is no circumstance, by God’s standards, which should prevent us from giving thanks to God. We are not to thank God for negative circumstances but to thank God in the circumstances.
8. Because giving thanks is a good thing to do. Giving thanks is good; grumbling or complaining is bad. Giving thanks to the Lord is good. Ingratitude is a sin. God told me some years ago that if someone does not know how to show appreciation, the sea of kindness for him would dry up. Ingratitude is one dangerous way of abusing and misusing people – failure to acknowledge, recognize, or appreciate them for the good things they’ve done.
Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (NKJV). Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them, a Samaritan, came back to show gratitude. “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:17-19 NKJV).
God expects us to come to Him with thanksgiving. Have you done that today?
9. Because you are alive. Only those alive can give thanks to the Lord and praise His holy name. Those who’re dead can’t do that. Therefore, it is wise for you to thank Him while you’re still alive. You will die one day. It is appointed unto man once to die (Hebrews 9:27). Before death comes, let it be on record that you gave God quality thanks and worthy praise. Psalm 6:5 says, “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (NKJV). The dead can’t offer thanks to the Lord; only the living can.
10. Because God avenges the enemy’s attack against you. God is the enemy of those who come against you. He will fight on your behalf and pay them back for the evil done against you. He does this because of the covenant relationship between Him and you. “O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times for the scorn they have hurled at you. Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever, praising your greatness from generation to generation” (Psalm 79:12-13 NLT).
Any attack against God’s children is indirectly an attack against God, and God will avenge. We need to thank God because He is the one who pays back our enemies; He subdues the nations under us and rescues us from our enemies (Psalm 18:47-48). He does not allow our enemies to escape with their attacks against us.
11. Because of His many deliverances. The deliverances of God in our lives are the reason you and I are still alive. If God had withdrawn His hands of deliverance, then the enemy would have destroyed us. Thank God for His many deliverances (Psalm 18:48-50). God has been our great deliverance from the terror by night and the arrow that flies by day. We should thank Him for this.
12. Because of His nearness to help you. Psalm 75:1 says “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near” (NKJV). And that is a good enough reason to thank Him. His name is near means that God is near. Because God is near, His help is near. The Bible says whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). The Bible also says the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10).
God is a very present help in the time of need. He is a well-timed help, a timely help (Psalm 46:1). His name is near; His help is not far from you. The assurance that God’s name, God’s help, is near you should make you thank Him.
13. Because of His marvelous works. The works of the Lord are wondrous; they are not ordinary. We should thank Him as beneficiaries of these works. “Give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works” (Psalm 105:1-2 KJV).
14. Because of the inheritance of the saints that we are partakers of. We’re partakers of God’s inheritance and we should show appreciation to God for this privilege. You should be filled with joy “always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light” (Colossians 1:12 NLT). Those who are outside the kingdom of light have no portion in this inheritance.
15. Because of the victory you have been given in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Which victory is the Bible talking about here? It is the victory over sin and death, as Jesus swallowed up death in victory. The New Living Translation renders 1 Corinthians 15:57 thus: “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore, we don’t need to be afraid of death any longer. Through His death on the cross and resurrection, Jesus got for us eternal life. Hallelujah! After we complete our own race on earth, we shall also experience resurrection one day. We need to thank God for the victory given to us in Christ Jesus.
16. Because of His provisions. We need to thank Him for whatever provision God makes available to us and whatever good supplies we receive from God. There is nothing we have that we’ve not received from Him (1 Corinthians 4:7).
We must be careful not to be familiar with the provisions of God in our lives. God’s provisions should not be taken for granted. God’s benefits are kindnesses, not rights. We must not be deceived to say that our hands have gotten them for us (Deuteronomy 8:11-17), and therefore become ungrateful. Thank God for the provision of food, provision of water, provision of good health, etc.
Before you start eating, do you thank him for providing you with the food? Before you drink water, do you thank God for the provision of the water? You may think that’s going too far. You think it is for schoolchildren! No, these are not minor things. You should learn from our Lord Jesus Christ: “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you’” (Matthew 26:27 NKJV).
Before the miraculous feeding of about 5,000 people, the Bible says in John 6:11, “And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted” (NKJV). Learn to give thanks to God for the provision you consider small and the one you consider big.
17. Because of His healings and miracles you’ve enjoyed. As said earlier, only the Samaritan leper came back to give thanks for his healing. Luke 17:16 says he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. When last were you on your knees thanking God for healing you, for giving you good health, for the miracles you have received?
Did you say you’ve never enjoyed a miracle? You must have overlooked them. You’re a miracle. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 KJV). Your sleeping and waking up is a miracle. Your travelling and returning safely is a miracle. Should you wait until when you’re involved in an accident, in which all the occupants of the vehicles die and you survive before you know that God has been protecting you?
Which one do you think is better: not to have an accident at all or to survive an accident? Which one do we always consider a big testimony that we like to listen to in the church? We have allowed the devil to cheat us on the benefits of thanking God and receiving the blessings God would have showered on us. It is the effect of our negative mindset! We think falling sick and receiving healing is a better and greater miracle than enjoying divine health (not falling sick)!
Whatever you don’t appreciate, you don’t celebrate. Whatever you don’t value, you don’t cuddle. Whatever you don’t appreciate in your life will depreciate. Don’t despise any longer the healings and miracles of God in your life, especially the ones we tend to overlook.
18. Because of the people He sent to bless you. Don’t despise the people God has sent to bless and help you. Someone without the help of God and the help of man will fail in life. In the real sense of the word, there is no self-made man! Somebody is only failing to acknowledge the role of some people in his success. He is either proud or lying or probably he is ignorant. Learn to thank God for the people God has brought across your way in life to assist you and help you to realize your dream and carry out your life’s assignment.
Titus was a son to Paul in the ministry and was very helpful in his ministerial assignment. Paul thanked God for the help that Titus was to him and his availability in the work of ministry. “I am thankful to God that he has given Titus the same real concern for you that I have. He is glad to follow my suggestion that he visit you again-but I think he would have come anyway, for he is very eager to see you! I am sending another well-known brother with him, who is highly praised as a preacher of the Good News in all the churches. In fact, this man was elected by the churches to travel with me to take the gift to Jerusalem. This will glorify the Lord and show our eagerness to help each other. By traveling together we will guard against any suspicion, for we are anxious that no one should find fault with the way we are handling this large gift” (2 Corinthians 8:16-20 TLB).
19. Because of the joy God gave you, turning your mourning into dancing. A time of mourning is usually a time of pain and sorrow. Thanksgiving at such a time, acting on the Word of God that in all circumstances we should give thanks to the Lord, is, in all honesty, a sacrifice. You’re doing it by faith; you’re not really enjoying it.
However, it is sweet when God turns things around for you, wipes away your tears, and gives you a new song. That is a wonderful time to thank God. Unfortunately, some people do everything, except this most important thing – giving thanks to the Lord.
We should be able to sing like David: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV). Because God has turned our wailing into dancing, we ought to give thanks to God.
20. Because God will do more for you. When we appreciate the kindnesses of God in our lives and the lives of others, we position ourselves to receive more from God. Those who thank God, get more from Him! An ungrateful person shall go empty-handed. God requests or demands thanksgiving from you. Who are you not to offer thanks to Him for all His manifold blessings in your life?
When you count your blessings one by one, as said by that songwriter, Rev. Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922), you will be surprised at what the Lord has done for you.
Conclusion: Bring thanksgiving to God for yourself, your family members, your loved ones, and for every one (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Make it your lifestyle. The more your thanksgiving, the more thankworthy things God will do for you.
Don’t forget, ingratitude is a sin. Cultivate the attitude of gratitude. If you don’t know how to show appreciation, the sea of kindness for you will dry up. I’ve shown you 20 reasons you must thank God. You can’t say you have no reason to give thanks to the Lord. If you haven’t been thanking Him, I urge you to begin right now
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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