In the third installment of our biblical framework construction, we will journey back into the New Testament and look at the attitude of gratefulness and what it means to be truly thankful in the biblical sense. What does it look like to be thankful? What images come to mind when we think about what we are thankful for? Do we think of Thanksgiving and the time we spend with family? Do we think about our friends and the influence they have on our lives? Do we think about our jobs, hobbies, interests, teachers, pastors, churches…? Do we think about God and what He has done for us through His son Christ Jesus?
As we begin to delve deeper into the attitude of gratefulness and explore what it means to express that feeling of thanks and gratitude in a biblical sense, we will begin to grasp the immensity of what is happening in the passage below.
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” (John 6:11, NIV Emphasis mine)
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is using the Greek word Eucharisteo to express His thanks for all that the Father has given.
The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon
Strong’s Number: 2168
- to be grateful, feel thankful
- give thanks
Christ directs His attention to God and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest they are about to enjoy. He expresses His true gratitude and shows those who are present that God gives gracious gifts and has the power to transcend our human limitations. Jesus thanks God for what He has given and what He has provided, and we are to do the same. We are to be thankful for everything that God has gifted us with.
We are also to be thankful for all that God is. He is the great I AM, He is the ruler over all creation and we are to be thankful that that responsibility is His and not our own. We are to elevate Him to his Proper place and position in our lives. In Revelation, I think that the vision that John has of the elders in heaven hits this attitude of ascribing thanks beautifully.
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.” (Rev. 11:15-17, NIV Emphasis mine)
In our lives, we are called to give thanks for what God has given and for who God is. We are to rejoice in the triumphs and good times that God has granted us with. We are to rejoice in the trials so that we can be a witness and encouragement to others who suffer. We are called to rejoice in the God of the universe because He alone(Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the ruler of all.
So the next time you begin to be thankful, will you only thanks those around you or will you first thank your God for all that he has done, is doing, and will do and for who He is in your life?