We find ourselves in a special season that singularly focuses on the act of giving thanks. People hang banners across their mantles proclaiming “give thanks” and others share on Facebook something they are grateful for each day in November
But Thanksgiving is more than a day or a month. Thanksgiving is something we are called to do every day. In the good and the bad, in the ups and downs, our natural response must be gratitude.
Good thing we have some great examples in the Bible! Many men and women we consider pillars of the faith represented an attitude of thanksgiving so well. In fact, there are so many that it was hard to narrow down the list. But today we take a look at people who uniquely gave thanks with all their heart.
Hannah is one of my favorite people in the Bible and someone I’ve learned a lot from. There honestly isn’t a lot of information about her but her mark in the Bible is significant.
Hannah was one of two wives to a man named Elkanah; Hannah was barren but the other wife had many children. The other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her regularly and Hannah’s misery was indeed immense. One night, while in the temple, Hannah prayed fervently for a child, so much so that the priest Eli thought she was drunk.
Hannah prayed that if God would give her a child, she would give that child back to Him. Eli blessed her request and soon after she conceived a boy named Samuel, who would become the great prophet of Israel (and my favorite person in the Bible!).
What’s beautiful about this story is that she did indeed give her son back to the Lord--she gave Samuel to Eli. Hannah’s praise wasn’t just the reflection of an answer to prayer, but it proceeded giving up her son. With all her heart she praised God in the aftermath of turning over her biggest prayer request.
Does your praise and thanksgiving overflow from the good you’ve had to let go? When perhaps your sacrifice was difficult.
David danced before the Lord in the streets as a response of praise to his holy God. He worshiped after the death of his son. David is a man known for praise. Even in the darkest seasons of his life--as we see in the psalms--he pointed back to the goodness of God.
No matter what season David found himself in, he always had the perspective of praise. We can learn a thing or two from that kind of attitude. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy but he knew thanksgiving was always necessary.
3. Mary, Mother of Jesus
Finding out she was pregnant with the Savior of the world wasn’t the easiest news to swallow and the aftermath took some faith. But Mary, the young girl chosen to carry the baby Jesus, would exemplify great praise.
While visiting with Elizabeth, who was carrying John the Baptist at the same time Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the young girl had a moment of exclamation. It’s called the Magnificat and it’s found in Luke 1.
Mary’s heart was full of praise and it outpoured into the world. A young girl filled with immense thanks knew exactly where her praise was to be directed. Do you know where to direct your praise today? What are you carrying that at first might have seemed a bit fearful but you can now be thankful for?
4. The Healed Leper
When Jesus entered a village (Luke 17) there were ten lepers that called out to him for healing. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest and as they did, all ten were healed.
Only one returned to Jesus to thank him. Only one! That man threw himself at the feet of Jesus and gave immense thanks. It’s both amazing to think and sad that only one man returned to give thanks for healing from a debilitating disease. When nine vanished into the crowd one gave thanks where thanks was due.
Don’t be like one of the nine that was blessed and moved on. Stop and give incredible thanks for all God has and is doing in your life!
He was God and didn’t have to give thanks for anything, but he often did. Jesus set a remarkable example for us in many ways but one was in thanksgiving. He was a man who gave praise to the Father in so many ways.
He gave thanks as he was surrounded by thousands of hungry people and multiplied the food.
He gave thanks to God for hearing his prayer for the raising of Lazarus--before Lazarus rose from the grave.
He knew the cross was before him and gave thanks to the Father as he broke bread and drank the cup with the disciples.
We have a perfect example of righteous living from Jesus and one thing he shows us is the position of praise and thanksgiving. What I find interesting is that all three of these instances were instances we might find tense. The pressure to feed thousands, raise a friend from the grave, and face death on a cross would be intense for any of us. Jesus’ response was never to panic or run to people, but to turn to the Father.
How can you find that position of praise in your life today? What might you do to cultivate a natural response of thanksgiving? Not just this month, but in all times.
This article was originally written for Crosswalk and can be found here.