Perhaps you are like me and own a t-shirt or a plaque that says something like “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed.”
It’s always fun to pull out seasonal things to wear or to decorate our homes. These items add joy to the holidays by reminding us of the reason for the season. But more than just sayings, these reminders point us to the truths found in God’s Word. I have always loved that there is a special time of year set aside to express my gratitude and emphasize my responsibility of worship as a believer. However, it is my hope and prayer that I would have an ongoing attitude of thankfulness and mindset of worship. Psalm 107 admonishes us— “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”
At the heart of the psalmist’s invitation to believers is the command to give thanks. We are not to be thankful for thankfulness’ sake, but instead our thankfulness has an object. While contemporary cultural narratives cry out for us to be thankful with no specifics, we as believers know the source of our blessings and therefore must direct our thankfulness to a specific place or person, God. As our Creator and Redeemer, He is the focus and recipient of our gratitude. He created us (Genesis 1:27; John 1:2); He saved us (John 3:16); and He sustains us (Hebrews 1:3). It is “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28); therefore, our thanks and praise are directed to him.
Believers have a compelling reason to give thanks to the Lord: “He is good!” Many qualities are ascribed to the Lord, but here the psalmist shines the spotlight on God’s goodness. The Lord is good. His nature is good, which permeates everything He is and does. Charles Spurgeon, no stranger to God’s good heart, declared, “His is no common goodness.” It is based on His steadfast love for us: “His mercy endures forever.” His goodness is often distinguished by the company it keeps. Scripture often pairs God’s goodness with His mercy. Moses became so overwhelmed with the goodness, grace, and mercy of God when the Lord passed by (Exodus 34:6-7) that he worshiped (Exodus 34:8). David, the shepherd-who-became-king, looked back on his life with its twists and turns and exclaimed that the Lord’s “goodness and mercy” pursued him every step of the way (Psalm 23:6). Psalm 100 declares, “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting.”
According to Psalm 107, thanksgiving should be the native tongue of those who have experienced the rich mercies of God. Our fluency arises from realizing that the Lord has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Spurgeon again shows us the way: “Our sin required that goodness should display itself to us in the form of mercy, and it has done so and will do evermore, let us not be slack in praising the goodness which thus adapts itself to our fallen nature.” Accordingly, the apostle Paul affirmed that “the goodness of the Lord leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4). When we begin to see God for who He is, we also see ourselves for who we are. Truly there is no goodness in us except what is exercised through the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22).
As the signs of the season begin to show up around us, let us pause and reflect on our lives and how they bear the fragrance of God’s goodness. Like a child first learning to crawl so that she might walk and run, may our thanksgiving mature into praise. Let us lavish our thanksgiving and praise upon the Lord who has given so generously to us. In the words of F. B. Meyer, “Let us put no stint on our gifts, lest the fountains of our life become frozen at the heart.”