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Thanksgiving or Happygiving?

The scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are replete with examples of thanksgiving. Just to share a few: 

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

2 Corinthians 9:12 For the ministry of this service [the offering] is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. (Italics added)

The one thing they all have in common is this: Thanks is given unto God. Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV) tells us that it is “the LORD your God… who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (and I think we would all agree that “wealth” means far more than money). It is God Who gives us the ability to do anything we do.

However

When I hear the secular world and non-believers talk about Thanksgiving I have to wonder – to whom do they give thanks? If they don’t believe in God; if they don’t believe in His divine sovereignty, could it be that they are not really giving thanks at all – but giving “happy” instead?

The word “happy” is derived from the middle English word “hap” which means “one’s luck or lot.” The word “happy” and “happenstance” have the same origin signifying that happiness is based on circumstances; Noah Webster (1828 Dictionary of American English) adds, “To be in any degree happy, we must be free from pain both of body and of mind; to be very happy, we must be in the enjoyment of lively sensations of pleasure, either of body or mind.”

In other words, “If things are going well, I am happy.”

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is internal and is dependant on the heart. Let us today (and everyday) “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His lovingkindness [His hesed] is everlasting.” Psalm 107:1. And who says so? “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!” Psalm 107:2a. 

Prayer: Gracious and loving God, may we lift to You our thanksgiving, only and always because You are God. It is You Who has made us, and not we ourselves, and all that we have; all that we are comes from You. Praise Your Holy Name! Amen.

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