Maunday Thursday Meditation: Give Thanks
Warning: This blog contains spiritual content that may not be suitable for skeptics, mockers, and scoffers.
You could summarize the whole Christian message in the simple words and actions of Jesus on the night he was betrayed, this day some 2000 years ago:
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them…*
A small thing in the eyes of the world.
A transformative thing in the eyes of God.
How could Jesus, stop and give thanks when he knew he’d shortly sweat drops of blood, be betrayed, falsely charged, mocked, scorned, scourged, and crucified in a few short hours?
If you take a journey, even a casual one, through the Bible, which I highly recommend, you don’t read too far until you discover the fundamental problem humankind has is not thanking God.
Why? Thanking God fills our hearts with contentment. Forget all of His benefits? ** Yes, I do. Stop and give thanks? I could never count all the benefits. There’s not enough time. We’ll need eternity for that. Really.
I could not even begin to list them. But begin I must.
Thanks stops the coveting. It stops the discontent. It stops the craving.
Thanks moves us toward God. Coveting moves us away.
It’s the big problem the Serpent threw at Eve: Hath God said? Any tree in the Garden? What about being wise? You want that don’t you? God’s holding you back. He doesn’t really love you. Cast off his shackles.
And Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.***
The Serpent never even mentioned all that, the good for food and pleasing to the eye part. She added her own commentary. She didn’t have enough. She couldn’t thank God for what she DID have and she needed MORE. No. Not more. She wanted it ALL. She already had the whole Garden of Eden. It was just this one tree’s fruit. She wasn’t supposed to eat that. Otherwise, the WHOLE THING. Yet it wasn’t enough. And she sold her soul for a piece of bread. And we’ve been doing it ever since.
Shackles? Obeying God is shackles? That’s the whole lie. I can’t get enough. I can’t be content with what I have. I have to have more. Paul said all the law is summed up in the 10th commandment “Thou shalt not covet.”**** The bottom line is covetousness is idolatry.***** Coveting is the opposite of being content. Sin is the opposite of thanks to God.
Or look at Psalm 50 where Asaph meditates on the fate of the wicked and lists their sins (it ain’t pretty) and then sums up the whole mess by writing:
Consider this, you who forget God…He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. (vs. 22-23)
Thanksgiving prepares the way. Thanksgiving opens the door to God. Not just thankful. Thankful to. Thanks honoring God. Thanksgiving to God opens heaven’s gate. The Bible starts out with coveting in the Garden and ends with thanksgiving in heaven.
Paul does the same thing. He writes about the degeneration of societies and people in general and his whole point is summed up in the statement:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.******
Ouch. Not thanking God is the root of all evil. Not thanking God perverts the mind.
It ruins lives and marriages, too.
Jesus began his dark journey with thanksgiving to God.
What would your marriage be like if you lived a life of thanks?
In our thirst for wanting more we ruin the gift staring us right in the face.