How Do I Demonstrate Gratitude?
And what if I don’t give thanks?
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His, also.
The psalmist is giving the basic reasons everyone should give thanksgiving and praise to God. They apply not only to believers but to all people. Each person has a responsibility to praise God, for all are creatures of His hands. In Romans 1, the apostle Paul points out that one of the charges God brings against people is that although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him (Romans 1:21). They did not recognize their relationship to Him.
It is a constant source of amazement to me that people can be so blind to the fact that they are not, as they often imagine themselves to be, independent creatures making their own way through life. We take for granted all the forces that keep us alive and boastfully talk about being self-made people. We strut through life as if there were no one else we need to recognize as the source of our strength and power.
Dr. H. A. Ironside (pastor for many years) used to tell of an experience he once had at a restaurant. He ordered his meal, and just as he was about to eat, a man walked up to his table and said, Do you mind if I sit down with you?
Dr. Ironside said that it was quite alright, so the man sat down. As was his custom, Dr. Ironside bowed his head and said a silent word of thanksgiving to the Lord before he ate. When he lifted up his head, the man said to him, Do you have a headache?
Ironside said, No, I don't.
The man said, Well, is there anything wrong with your food?
Ironside said, No, why?
Well, the man said, I saw you sitting there with your head down, and I thought you must be sick, or there was something wrong with your food.
Ironside replied, No, I was simply returning thanks to God as I always do before I eat.
The man said, Oh, you're one of those, are you? Well, I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow, and I don't have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!
Dr. Ironside said, Yes, you're just like my dog. That's what he does, too!
That little story suggests that when people will not give thanks to God, they are acting like irrational animals. Such is the basis of this appeal by the psalmist: no matter how we may feel or what our attitude toward God may be, we are bound, as creatures dependent upon His love and grace, at least to give thanks to Him as our Creator. Psalm 96:8 says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name”. God is always worthy of our thanksgiving, not just when we feel like giving it. We should do it for His name's sake. Doubtless it would make a great difference in our worship if we would remember that praise is not something that merely reflects our transient feelings but is something we ought to do simply because God made us, and we cannot live a moment without Him.
Excerpted with permission by Global Media Outreach from Daily Devotion © 2021, 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Please visit RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material.
Pray this week:
Lord, I give thanks to You because You are so worthy of glory. Forgive me for taking You and all that You do for granted.
Does God's character and goodness stir us to deep gratitude for His mercy and love toward us? What are you thankful to God for today?