Terry R. Baughman
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4).
Thanksgiving requires an object. We cannot merely “be thankful” without an expression of gratitude toward the one who is the reason of our thankfulness. When there is no person responsible for evoking our expression of thanks, we must consider Providence, the certain knowledge that One beyond our circle has provided the bounty of blessings we have received. We can thank one another for gifts or kindness, but who can we thank for health and life? Who is responsible for sunshine and rain, provision and abundance? Should we thank nature who is unable to hear us or the solar elements that are unresponsive to our gratitude? No, of course not. There is only One who should be honored for those blessings that are often accredited to nature and inanimate objects. Our God is the only one worthy of praise and glory for the multitude of natural blessings we receive daily.
If it were not for God’s provision we would have no hope. When we realize our utter hopelessness without God we are overwhelmed with gratitude for all He has graciously provided. David must have felt that when he wrote, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3–4).
Thanksgiving is the instant and natural response as praise springs from our lips! The Psalmist exulted, “I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). Praise should always associate an expression of thanksgiving. A commendation of gratitude for blessings received is an appropriate response when giving thanks.
Thanksgiving without praise is a selfish act. We may express thanks to bolster our own feeling of self-sufficiency and for selfish gratification if there is no one to receive our gratitude. For it to truly be “thanksgiving,” praise must be directed to deity. God must be the object of our praise and the reason for giving thanks, “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4).
During the season of Thanksgiving, or for any time of the year, let praise be part of your celebration. Make corporate and private worship a part of your thanks. Respond to the songs of the Psalmist, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2). “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God” (Psalm 147:7).
This year purpose to join in with fervor as we sing, clap, rejoice, and shout our thanksgiving to the Lord of Glory! Be thankful and praise His name!
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).