In November, every year, we focus on the things in our lives we are thankful for. Some of us take to social media using hashtags #thankful, #thanksgiving, #turkey, #getinmybelly (Sorry, I may have my grandmother's thanksgiving meal on my mind), #thankfulfor, and the list goes on and on. Some will participate in a 30 day Thanksgiving challenge on Instagram where you post a different picture each day of things you are thankful for using the #30daysofthanksgiving. As a family, you may sit around the table each evening and talk about one thing you are thankful for in your life or during that particular day. We all have different ways to convey who and what we want to give thanks with it culminating on a day of giving thanks where we meet with family and friends to share a meal together. I love thanksgiving because it combines my two love interests: food and family! There are also no strings attached through the giving a gifts, it's just a genuine thanksgiving feast full of love.
As I sat during worship yesterday, a comment was made during our announcement time, "Everyday is a day of Thanksgiving when you're a Christian." This small, simple statement had a lot of power behind it. I sat there and thought to myself about the things in which I can be thankful on a daily basis thanks to my God and Savior. So, I would like to share with you the things I am thankful for on a daily basis because of God and the Christian life.
I'm Thankful For...
Love: Without love, where would we stand today in our walk with God? Love is above all the most important reason to be thankful. Love for God, love for family, love for our country, love for others, etc. However, it is God's love that we should be most thankful for. Paul knew that God's love would be difficult to understand which is why Paul prayed the people would "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge" (Eph. 3:18-19). His love surpasses all knowledge, but we can understand just how deep God's love must have been for us when He allowed Christ to be crucified (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16).
Sacrifice: We have the privilege of living in a country where we experience immense freedom due to the sacrifice of men and women who fought, bled, and died for our sake. We take our freedoms for granted and even abuse it at times, but there's no doubt we have this life because of sacrifice. As a Christian, a sacrifice had to be made in order to have the life that we do. Through Christ's sacrifice we have been set free from the bondage of sin (Gal. 5:1). The sacrifice made by Jesus Christ was a one time deal. He did not die multiple times for my sins or your sin, but He sacrificed himself once for the sins of the world (Heb. 9:24-28). We have freedom from sins thanks to the crucifixion (Rom. 6:6-7) Because of Christ's sacrifice I gain salvation and citizenship.
Citizenship/Salvation: Those who fought for our country, fought for a country where they were citizens, a place they called home. The USA is a wonderful (temporary) place to live, but it pales in comparison to the citizenship that I have in Heaven (Phil. 3:20). Each time I watch someone put on Christ in baptism for the remission of their sins, I am reminded of the great sacrifice of Christ so we can have a relationship with God. I am reminded of the death Christ went through, the burial, and how He overcame death in resurrection. Each time I am reminded of my salvation through Christ's death. I am reminded that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23) and that we did nothing to earn God's grace but it was a gift freely given to us (Eph. 2:8). Thanks to Christ we have salvation through baptism and receive a new life (Rom. 6:4), eternal life and our citizenship has been transferred to Heaven.
I could go on and on about the many things each day that we can be thankful for, as Christians. However, these are the highlights of my everyday thanksgiving! What can you be thankful for everyday? I challenge you to give thanks back to God, each day, to remember His love for us which led to sacrifice that, in return, allowed us an opportunity of salvation and a citizenship in Heaven.
"I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me..."
- Andrew C. Thompson (Youth Minister, Rose Hill Church of Christ)
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