"With Thanksgiving. . ."
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6).
If there were ever a people whose hearts should be overflowing with thanksgiving it is the people of God in 1985. Have there ever been people so richly blessed?
We have our God, whose "eyes are over the righteous and whose ears are open to their prayers." We have our Lord, who died for us, through whom we have forgiveness, salvation, and access to God's throne. We have truth, revealed by the Holy Spirit through the inspired apostles and prophets of the first century. We have our Bibles, the complete truth in written form, written not on cumbersome, handwritten scrolls, but in clearly printed, compact books which even the poorest can afford. We enjoy the benefits that have come from great characters of recent generations, whose faithfulness has contributed heavily to our understanding of truth. We are a part of God's family, made up of all the saints of all ages, with whom we sit in the heavenly places in Christ. We have brothers and sisters in Christ of the present age, who, though yet in the imperfect state, will come to our aid at any hour of the day or night, and without whose encouragement we would hardly be able to maintain our faith and service to God. We have material blessings, in varying degrees of abundance to be sure, but in sufficient abundance to supply the needs of all. We have hope, that which "anchors the soul," hope of happiness beyond imagination for eternity. Never should a grumbling word pass through the lips of people so blessed.
But all are not grateful. There is a tendency among us to take our blessings for granted. Have we not seen within the same audience some visibly weeping at the story of the cross while others were sleeping throughout? Do we not see some treasuring the word of God, reading it and "hiding it in their hearts," while others are virtually ignoring it? Do we not see some who find so much joy in their salvation that they are excitedly telling others of the Christ, hoping that they, too, will find that same joy, while others are assuming that their friends will be as bored with it all as they are? Do we not know people who can trace their "Christian heritage" back to the third, fourth, or fifth generation, but who are themselves lukewarm, indifferent, and ungrateful? Blessed beyond comprehension, but ungrateful! In fact, the sad truth is: the more we receive, the less thankful many of us tend to be!
It is not mere words that the Lord desires. We can say "Thank you" an hundred times a day without being truly grateful. The Lord wants us to count our blessings, to realize how truly rich we are, and, with our knees bowed in His presence and our hearts filled with gratitude for all He has done, to say, "Thank you, God"; then to go out to conduct ourselves as people who are genuinely thankful.
But, even then, our noblest of praise and thanksgiving will fall far short of what His goodness and mercy deserve. But one day we shall see our God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the fullest sense we shall comprehend His matchless grace, and then, and only then, shall we thank Him as we ought. But, till then, we must continue to offer our imperfect expressions of thanksgiving and strive for greater appreciation for what we have in Christ. Have you said, "Thank you, God," today?
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 20, p. 616