“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5
I always think about being thankful around Thanksgiving – the pumpkins, the hayrides, the beautiful fall leaves, and Thanksgiving holidays. I can remember as a child when I would be asked to think of someone or something that I was thankful for. We would write it on a paper turkey and hang it on the wall to show it off to others.
In the dictionary, “thankful” means to be “aware and appreciative of a benefit given.” Being thankful means to be grateful. As a Christian, I am usually focused on asking God for things, praying for illness or stressors, or begging for His mercy on me. I rarely take time to truly thank Him for all He has given me and for who He is. The verses above challenge us to thank God as we enter the gates, making me feel that we should “start” our prayer time with thanksgiving. This gives us time to truly focus on God instead of our own needs, and it allows us to gain perspective and become centered in our time with God.
Earlier in the chapter, David speaks about how we are the sheep of His pasture. This is a significant theme that is referenced many times in God’s word – being sheep means that we need God to take care of us, and we cannot walk the road of life without Him. He plays a significant role in our lives, our safety, and our direction. This is something to be thankful for – without God, we would be lost and never find our way, we would be prey for other animals to devour, and we would have a hard time meeting all of our needs.
Like the dictionary states, we need to be aware of our need for Christ, admitting that we fall short and cannot make it through life without Him. We need to admit what he does and admit the benefits we have because He is in our hearts. When we admit where we end and where He begins, we can be appreciative for His role in our lives and the lives of those we love. We can praise Him for who He is and thank Him for his steadfast, unconditional love.
Take away: Take a moment to thank God for all He has given you. Thank God for your salvation, your family, and your opportunities. Consider taking a moment to tell your parents or a close family member “thank you” for what they have done for you. Keep a running list of things that you are grateful for – your family, a beautiful day, the beach, camp!!