Grasping The True Meaning Of Thanksgiving In The Bible

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Published by Kenneth Garcia

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Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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Gratitude is connected to worship, devotion, praise, an offering, or a sacrifice. We find ourselves expressing appreciation for who God is and what He has accomplished. As the Pilgrims observed, God is dependable and generously provides for His children. Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude to the One who has given so much and is still benevolent toward His children.

The spiritual power of gratitude enables you to reach new heights in your entire Christian life. Vital spiritual energies from heaven are released when you are a thankful Christian, making things happen for you the way they should. The spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday can uplift the testifier and foster greater faith in God.

Key Takeaways

  • Thanksgiving is seen as a form of worship and devotion, expressing appreciation for God’s dependability and generosity.
  • Gratitude holds spiritual power, uplifting believers and fostering faith growth. It is portrayed as transformative, leading to abundance and healing.
  • The article emphasizes giving thanks “in everything” rather than “for everything.” Believers are encouraged to focus on God’s faithfulness during challenges, expressing gratitude through prayer and maintaining a positive attitude.

What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving In The Bible?

A recurring motif in the Bible is gratitude to God for His numerous blessings and the unfailing love that He has shown toward us. For instance, the seven feasts (holy days) that ancient Israel honored each year revolved around the three primary harvests.

The recognition that the Eternal makes our existence possible and that He is the source of our prosperity and fortune is one of the main themes of these Thanksgiving days[1]. Thirty instances of the exact term, or its plural, may be found, nine of which are in the New Testament.

Paul makes eight references to offering thanks to God out of these nine instances, while John only makes one. Paul concurs that thanksgiving for God’s saving grace envelops the entire Christian life and that believers should be thankful because God’s steadfast love endures forever. Thus, we should glorify God.

Paul encourages his churches to do everything in the name of Jesus with an attitude of thankfulness and to give thanks for everything in every situation. On the other hand, those who stifle the truth about God are godless and immoral, and they lack gratitude.

The Hebrew term todah, meaning to extend one’s hand, is where the phrase “thanksgiving” first appeared in the Old Testament. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, this word’s original meaning is “confession, praise, or thanks presented to God,” which might include offering praises, singing hymns, and other songs, among other forms of expression.

The word “eucharistia” is a Greek word that means “thankfulness, giving thanks, or conveying gratitude to God as an act of worship” and is used throughout the New Testament. The book of Revelation is an excellent example of worshiping the Eternal for his numerous favors. It occurs when all the martyrs who died during the Great Tribulation are raised from the dead and brought before God’s throne.

a plate with autumn trees painted on it

What Is The Christian Meaning Of Thanksgiving?

The message of Thanksgiving edifies all who hear it. It increases other people’s faith. Faith is a product of both hearing and the word of God, according to Romans 10:7. God does not treat people with respect. God can do for others what He did for someone else.

You are eligible for another favor from God if you give thanks. God is compelled to accomplish more through testimony (Proverbs 3:9–10). It lifts the witness to a great height (Psalms 18:1–3); when you praise God, strength and courage flow.

Thanksgiving results in remarkable growth. Having addition is one thing, but having multiplication is far better (John 6:5–13). After Jesus gave gratitude to God, the two fish and five loaves of bread multiplied in His hands. Twelve thousand baskets were left behind after feeding 5,000 individuals (John 6:11, 13). Nothing is insignificant in the hands of one who gives gratitude because God will bring abundance.

Thanksgiving transforms recovery into completion. Only one of the ten lepers who cried out to the Lord Jesus for mercy and were healed in Luke 17:11–19 returned to thank Him. In verse 19, Jesus told him to get up and go his way because his faith had healed him. Health in its entirety is wholeness. In Jesus’ name, I pray that you will feel God’s completeness as you praise and thank Him.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time for rejuvenation. Jesus expressed gratitude in John 11:41, and Lazarus came back to life. Every chance that was dead in your life will be revived as you express gratitude in the name of Jesus.

Thanksgiving offers complete relief from all of your problems. “Offer God thankfulness and fulfill your vows to the Highest. And when you are in danger, call on me; I will rescue you, and you will praise me” (Psalms 50:14–15).”

Thanksgiving encourages God to bless your life. In 2 Chronicles 1:6–15, Solomon went to bed after making a thousand burned offerings to God. He received divine intervention, a free pass from God, divine overflow—more than he requested—and divine overflowing prosperity—silver turned to stones.

Thanksgiving brings the majesty of God to earth. In 2 Chronicles 5:13–14, when God was given loud praise and thankfulness, His splendor filled His temple, and the priests could not stand. As you give God thanks in the name of Jesus, sickness, disease, grief, and demons cannot stand. Thanksgiving marks the start of a new era. Start with Thanksgiving if you want a further period of miracles, signs, and wonders (Luke 22:19–20).

What Does The Bible Say About Giving Thanks In All Things?

The Greek word euchariste or eucharistos, which Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the Bible describes as being thankful or expressing gratitude, such as saying grace at a meal, is the source of the phrase “give thanks” in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

It is the same word used at other times of Thanksgiving in the Bible, such as when Jesus gave thanks for the seven loaves and the fish in Matthew 5:36 and then miraculously used them to feed thousands of men, women, and children. When Jesus healed the ten lepers in Luke 15:16, one of them threw himself at Jesus’ feet in gratitude.

It entails recognizing the gifts and blessings we receive, which we are not owed but which God freely bestows upon us out of His boundless love and concern for us. If we follow and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, He has given us eternal life in addition to the life we have here on earth in our human body.

A prayer where we declare that God is great and God is good will help us remember endless blessings provided by God, reinforcing a spiritual bond and a heart full of gratitude.

Difference Between Giving Thanks “In Everything” And “For Everything”

The error lies in assuming that we must express our gratitude “for” everything when God is directing us to do so “in” everything. Some of us struggle and reject this idea because we believe God is instructing us to be thankful “for” the challenges.

This causes us to overlook what He wants us to accomplish, which is to be grateful in the face of difficulties and refuse to let setbacks, failures, losses, and injuries prevent us from being thankful to Him.

God urges us to focus on Him and His faithfulness to us through trying times rather than on our circumstances. He also asks us to remember His promise never to abandon or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and to put our trust in Him to provide for us in all life’s circumstances.

a thanksgiving table with pumpkins and glass on and a huge autumn background painting

Why Is Giving Thanks Important?

The Bible is replete with instructions on how to praise God and give thanks to the Holy Spirit. Praise and Thanksgiving are inextricably linked. Without being grateful, our praise and worship of God also fall short. We benefit from feeling and expressing gratitude. God wants us to learn to be thankful for all the blessings He has given us, just like any wise father would.

We should constantly be reminded that all we own is a gift from God. Without thankfulness, we develop arrogance and selfishness. We start to think that we did everything by ourselves. Gratitude preserves our hearts in the right relationship with the One who bestows all beautiful things.

Giving thanks also serves as a reminder of our abundance. Humans are prone to possessiveness. We frequently concentrate on the things we lack. We are constantly reminded of how much we have by expressing gratitude. We are happier when we focus on blessings rather than wants. We understand that we would not be here without God’s grace, love, and compassionate blessings.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We should be grateful for the things we like and the things we do not like. Bitterness is avoided when we set out to praise God for whatever He permits in our lives.

We cannot simultaneously be grateful and resentful. We should not thank God for evil, but rather that He is helping us endure it (James 1:12). Although He did not inflict harm, we do appreciate Him when He gives us the fortitude to take it (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We thank Him for saying that “to those who love God and are called according to His purpose, everything will work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Even though we may not feel grateful for the situation, we can have a thankful attitude toward God.

Even in our grief, we may express gratitude. We can suffer while still being grateful. Sin can make us angry, yet we can still be thankful to God. The Bible refers to that as an “offering of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). Giving gratitude to God prevents a variety of negative feelings and attitudes that might otherwise deprive us of the peace that God desires for us to have and keeps our hearts in the right relationship with Him (Philippians 4:6–7).

How Do You Give Thanks?

A grateful and upbeat attitude that praises God for life or other blessings despite our current circumstances is necessary while we are going through a challenging event, not because we are expected to be thankful for a disease or tragedy.

1. We Can Thank God Through Prayer

Praying is one way to thank God for everything. In prayer, we converse with God. We direct our hearts and minds to Him and maintain a relationship-centered mindset, which causes us to become more appreciative.

2. We Can Be Thankful By Changing Our Perspective

Another way is to embrace things from heaven rather than earth. Material things change with time. Bones become dust, and buildings fall to pieces. However, God and His kingdom endure forever. By focusing on heavenly things, we can better focus on what matters and develop a spirit of thankfulness for unmeasurable favors.

3. We Can Be Thankful Despite Obstacles

When we can accomplish all of this, we discover that we may even be able to stretch our hearts to practice something we never thought we could: being grateful despite the challenges and the terrible times.

Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we are aware that God always acts in favor of those who love Him and are chosen following His purposes.” This implies that anything can be put to good use, even anything unpleasant. An imperfection can help us get closer to God; in fact, Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he pleaded with God to take out, but God refused.

thanksgiving table with plates and utensils and a bird on top of it

Prayers For Thanksgiving

Lord Jesus Christ,

I’m grateful to you for all my life’s benefits.

You have given me more than you could have possibly dreamed. You have placed watchful individuals all around me. You have blessed me with family and friends who think and act kindly toward me every day. They encourage me in ways that keep my thoughts on you and improve my spirits.

Thank you, Lord, for protecting me as well.

You shield me from things that other people appear to be haunted by. You support me in making wiser judgments and give me counselors to assist me with tough choices in life. You communicate with me in so many ways that I always feel your presence.

And Lord, I am very grateful for protecting and loving everyone around me.

I pray that you grant me the wisdom and ability to convey to them daily how important they are. I hope you’ll enable me to repay them with the generosity they have shown me.

Lord, I thank you very much for all your blessings.

I ask that you constantly remind me of how fortunate I am and that you never let me forget to express my thanks through prayer and reciprocated compassion.

May God bless you and me through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.
a turkey on a table together with other foods prepared for thanksgiving

Summary 

We ought to worship God because He is deserving of it. Giving Him credit for every good and perfect gift He bestows is simply right. Being grateful shifts our attention away from our desires and the suffering that the present situation brings.

We might remember that God is in control by being appreciative. Thus, thanking God is not only appropriate but also advantageous to us. It serves as a reminder of the more outstanding picture, our relationship with God, and the fact that we have received all spiritual blessings. Since we genuinely lead affluent lives, gratitude is appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Thanksgiving So Important To God?

In Christian theology, Thanksgiving holds importance for God as it symbolizes gratitude and recognition of His blessings. This act of thanks is seen as a form of worship, fostering humility and acknowledging God’s providence.

Thanksgiving serves as a cultural and spiritual tradition, encouraging believers to express faith, reflect on God’s goodness, and deepen their connection with Him.

What Are The Three Types Of Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving manifests in three main forms: cultural, religious, and familial. Culturally, it’s a national holiday in the United States marked by feasts and gratitude. Religiously, it holds spiritual significance with believers expressing thanks to a higher power.

Familial Thanksgiving focuses on personal gatherings and gratitude within family units, emphasizing a universal theme of appreciation.

What Is The Real Story Of Thanksgiving?

The true story of Thanksgiving traces back to 1621, where English Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans came together for a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Facing challenges in the New World, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag shared knowledge and celebrated unity, symbolizing cooperation during a pivotal moment in American history.

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