Filled with gratitude
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
As Christians we have much to be thankful for. We thank God for our Choctaw people and for our great Choctaw Nation.
We thank God for His love. He loved us first before we loved Him (John 4:19). We thank Him for His Only Begotten Son (John 3:16). We thank God for the Gospel: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (I Corinthians 15:1-4) the answer to the needs of every individual worldwide, especially in these last days.
There are so many things to be thankful for. Even if you are not a Christian you must admit there is much to be thankful for. All the blessings that you enjoy come from God’s hands. We read in the Gospel of Matthew 5:45 “…for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the thankful that you have been spared to hear God’s message of salvation.”
Although God hates your sin – sinful behavior (in thought, word and deed), He does love you, the person, and He “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Now, I would like to consider with you what may be regarded the greatest thanksgiving text in all the Word of God. There is nothing comparable to it. We read in Matthew 26:27 the record of our Lord Jesus Christ standing before His disciples “…took the cup, and gave thanks…”
The cup contained the “fruit of the vine” which represented the blood which He was soon to shed for the sins of the world. It was the cup of death, and yet with the very shadow of the cross upon Him, He could thank God.
Crowded into that cup were the sins of the world, the wrath of God and the sacrifice of Himself. Instead of shrinking from it and crying out to be delivered, He quietly bowed His head and thanked God. The crucial hour was upon Him – the moment for which He had been born and which had brought Him into the world. He was ready to accomplish the redemption of mankind.
All the agonies He was to experience in those awful hours, as He hung a bleeding victim on Calvary, were represented by the cup He held in His blessed hand – and He thanked God.
All through Old Testament days when the brazen altar stood in the court yard, as lambs and bullocks were brought to the sacrifice they came bleating and bellowing. But the true Lamb of God “gave thanks.” There was no shrinking from danger as the cattle seem to do as they are led to the slaughter. There was no trembling and no voice of regret that He had come to the fatal hour.
In the Garden of Gethsemane when Satan sought to impose upon Him a premature death, Jesus cried out to His heavenly Father to let this cup pass from Him. He shrunk from the idea of dying in any other way than upon the cross as had been predicted in Scripture. Such a death would have defeated the whole scheme of divine redemption.
Satan would have been the victor and man would have been eternally hopeless.
The cross with all that it entailed was His goal, and praise God, He reached it, and when He had accomplished what needed to be done, and God’s righteousness had been vindicated and our sin debt had been completely paid, He cried out, “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
Jesus looked upon the broken bread and the wine in the cup, which was to be sipped by all His disciples, as something very significant.
The full measure of it was known only to Himself, yet He could “thank God.” Thanksgiving can go on no higher, His blood has saved the entire human race, and rises to sprinkle the Mercy Seat in the Throne room of the Almighty.
Have we thanked God for the death of Jesus and do we rejoice in His finished work in our behalf? “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (II Corinthians 9:15).
My friend, we should be thankful because we know that we are sinners! (Romans 3:23).
Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32).
The truth about this matter is that everyone is a sinner, and that no one will ever be saved except they recognize their sinful condition and cry “…God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13).
We should also be thankful because we do not have to save ourselves.
If we were saved by our own efforts, we could never know when we had done enough to save ourselves – a neverending task. God makes it very plain in His Word, the Bible, in Titus 3:5, that it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” and that “…it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Be thankful for the glorious future that awaits us for “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9).
The blessed Lord on His throne pours out His blessings then waits for the expression of gratitude, the expression of thankfulness, that should come from our hearts. Does He hear it?
Does He receive it? So often from the statement in Romans 1:21: “…neither were thankful…” He does not receive our expression of gratitude. We read in Colossians 3:15 “…be ye thankful.”
Isn’t it strange that God would have to command us to give thanks.
We read in Psalm 106:47 that we are saved and separated in order that we may give thanks to God.
The world gives no thanks. The ungodly never bow the head in gratitude to the God of their lives.
It is those who are saved from the penalty of sin, death, and have been set apart as God’s people who are filled with thanksgiving.
Surely we will not rob God thanks due to His name, and prove to be ungrateful and unthankful to the God who has done so much for us.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, you can do that today, even right now.
Confess or agree with God you are a sinner and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith.
Pray for the United States and its leaders. Pray for our men and women in the armed services of our country. Pray for the Native American nations and their leaders.