What does it mean to be thankful?
In America, a holiday was invented because of the subject.
People say “thank you” to men and women in uniform for their service to this country.
People offer a trite “thanks” when someone does something nice, but do they really know what the word means?
It is simple to look in a dictionary and find a quick definition; something like “being well pleased” or “being conscious of a benefit received.”
But what does God think of the word thankfulness? Are these ideas from Him, or is this man’s definition for the word?
As a person who follows Christ, it is vital to see creation through God’s eyes – in His Word. The world will redefine concepts, or skew ideas to justify their end goal, yet God will not. When He makes a statement or explains a thought, this edict does not change.
Thankfulness should be the basis for every Christian life.
When one sees the word “thankfulness” or “thanks” in the Bible, it is the Greek word eucharistia. The Catholic Church uses a form of this word as part of their Mass: The Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Holy Communion or “Lord’s Supper” for their church.
They developed this thought from 1 Corinthians 11:24 where the Bible states, “and when He had given thanks (eucharistia), He broke it…”
Thus, the entire “Lord’s Supper” or Communion is a time of giving thanks. Jesus gave thanks unto God because of His provision for mankind through His own sacrifice, and we give thanks to God for offering Jesus as our sacrifice.
All around, this ordinance or sacrament is about giving thanks. However, this word can be broken down into a much simpler concept.
Many Greek words come from other older or more basic Greek words. When one looks at eucharistia, it is simple to see the word char embedded within it. The Greek word charis is the basis for this word and it means grace.
Grace is receiving a blessing without merit, or more simply, receiving what you did not earn.
As flawed people, each of us has sinned and fallen short of the mark God set. Because of this, man is stained and cannot enter a pure and holy heaven.
Therefore the payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23) and every person who has ever lived has earned this death.
But God sent Jesus (God as a man) to become a sacrifice and cover the sin of those who accept Him.
Man earned death, but receives life if he calls on the name of Jesus; this is grace at its simplest.
Because man no longer has to be buried under his sin and has the hope of spending eternity with God due to the sacrifice and grace of Christ, he has the best reason to be thankful.
So, the discussion comes full circle. To understand thankfulness, one must comprehend grace.
Without fully knowing the sacrifice Christ made on mankind’s behalf …
Without realizing that He offered his body and blood so man’s sin can be covered …
Without truly comprehending that Christ offered His life freely …
Without grasping that He presented a blessing to man that man did not deserve …
Without a knowledge of grace …
It is impossible to be thankful.
Next time you hear “thank you,” remember that thankfulness traces its lineage back to a God who loved man enough to send His son.
If you understand this, you can be truly thankful and hopefully … offer grace to others.