During the month of November, we are reminded of our obligatlon to give thanks to Almighty God for the many and countless blessings that surround us. It is a sad commentary on our human nature that we must institutionalize a day of thanksgiving lest no one give a thought to this most basic of responsibilities.
And Yet, all of Scripture is very sensitve to the need for us to give thanks. When the people of Israel were led into the land of Canaan, they were told by the God of our fathers to "beware that thou forget not" all that had been done for them. Nonetheless, they quickly forgot the mighty acts by which the Lord had formed them into a great nation, and it became necessary for the psalmist to remind them to "forget not all His benefits." In the healing of the 10 lepers, only one returned to give thanks, and Christ asked, "Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?"
Surely God does not need our feeble thanks. It must be for our benefit, therefore, that we are required to be grateful. Indeed, a fundamental requirement for spiritual growth is a thankful heart. If we are to give thanks, we not only remember all that we should be thankful for, but to whom those thanks are due; we are bound to remember not only the gifts received, but the Giver as well. It is in this awareness that a life of faith has its foundation. We begin to live each day for what it is, a gift from God. We strive not to waste it, but to treat it as an investment trusted to our care. We also see our successes and our possessions for what they are, gifts made possible by the intellect, the health, and the opportunities that have been placed in our path. Gratitude helps us to understand our proper place in the scheme of creation.
To be thankful is to look up at Another far greater than ourselves, and to know that we are not gods ourselves. In that knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom. God asks us for thankful hearts not because He needs them, but because we do.