Before going deep into this mystery, let examine the foundation of this topic, the word “Thanksgiving” and it’s meaning. Many believers don’t really know what Thanksgiving is, most times they even refer to it as praise, there is a difference between “thanksgiving” and “praise”. When you are “Thanking God” and “Praising God” you are doing two different things.
With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ezra 3:11 NIV
The Bible text above gives us an understanding that there is actually a difference between Thanksgiving and Praise. The Bible recorded “with Praise and Thanksgiving” not praise or thanksgiving, it wasn’t a mistake neither was it an error in translation. When you read the B part of that bible verse, there the writer gave us an hint on the difference between them.
With Praise and Thanksgiving they sang;
“He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever”
Looking at the sentence quoted above, we say that they praised God for He is good, and thank him for his love toward Israel endures forever. Praise is the act of complimenting God for who he is and for his virtues (what he has done apart from what he has done for us). For example, we praise God for what he did on the cross, for salvation, for redemption, we can praise God for he is good(Ezra 3:11).
When you praise God, you are acknowledging his perfection, works, benefits and excellence. Singing songs, hymn and prayers could be ways of praising God.
Thanksgiving is much more different to praise. Thanksgiving from the Greek word “Eucharistia” means the giving of thanks for God’s grace. Thanksgiving is defined in the dictionary as “an expression of gratitude” especially towards God.
Thanksgiving means to ‘give thanks’ or simply to thank God not for who He is, but for what he has done for you. Thanksgiving is an expression shown to God that you are grateful either for past miracles, present blessings or awaiting miracles. You give thanks to God for specific gifts and blessings he has given you all through your life. You could thank God for providing you food, giving you a nice home and a family, for giving you a job when you were looking for one, saving you/one of your family member’s life from dangers e.t.c. The gratitude you have inside you is the core of your thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is directed to someone; praise is spoken about someone. For example a wife who cooked a delicious meal for her husband and the family. The family will do two things
Thanks; Thanking her for giving so much of her strength/time and her contributions in making the food delicious and
Praise; praising her for being a good wife, mother, for taking care of the family.
God the Father is the object of thanksgiving, God the Son is the person through which thanksgiving flows and God the son is the source of thanksgiving(Romans 1:8).
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO ALWAYS GIVE THANKS TO GOD
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thess 5:18 KJV.
The bible verse above make us understand that the main reason it is necessary to give thanks to God is because it is “God’s will”. Make Thanksgiving to God an habit, don’t see it as an enforcement or a compulsion. You should not give thanks to God because you are asked to, Give thanks to God because it’s his will for your life. God desires and long for your thanksgiving. Forget about the notion that says God does not need you. He needs you for his glory to be established, for his light to shine among men and all glory be ascribed unto him. He desires our Thanksgiving and want us to do it habitually.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phillipians 4:6
Let’s take a look at a story in the Bible, about Jesus and the 10 who had leprosy (Luke 17:12-19)
12. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13. And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
25. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18. There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger
19. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
This men came to Jesus, they might have heard about him, about his miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead. So they believed that if he can do all of that then he can heal them of their leprosy. So they cried for mercy and Jesus replied them with an instruction to test their faith. They obeyed and went, the bible recorded that as they went they were healed (obedience). Out of all the 10 lepers that were healed only one thought of it needful to give thanks to God. Jesus then gave to him something neither of the nine received a confirmation of his healing. Jesus recognized his faith and blessed him with a confirmation. It is good to give thanks.
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”. Phillemon 1:6
When you thank God for every good thing he has done in your life, you get access to more of his blessings. Many believers the only thing keeping them from getting answers to their prayer request is because they have failed to appreciate God for the one he gave to them recently. Thanking God for his past blessings in your life quickens answers to prayers.
Thanksgiving is like a Catalyst that speed up answers to prayers.
THE MYSTERY OF THANKSGIVING
Dont let your situation or circumstance determine your Thanksgiving to God, In everything give thanks to God. It won’t augur well if you are a fair weather Christian, you only give thanks to God when things are rosy. Some secrets of Thanksgiving are listed below
• It brings confusion to the camp of the enemies (Job 13:15a)
imagine a man who is afflicted and still thanking God, won’t the person afflicting him be confused, because what he is expecting him to be doing is different to that which he is doing. This is what many believers are missing out, some will start Judging God. Forgetting that he just delivered them from one which happened before then, that is even greater than this.
• You receive complete healing (Luke 17:19)
• The Unusual happens (Matthew 15:36-38)
• You’ll be blessed with unspeakable gifts (2 Corinthians 9:11-15)
• Thanksgiving reminds Christians of what they have and the blessings they have received from the Lord (Romans 8:17)
Thanksgiving should be a lifestyle for all believers.