Giving Thanks To God For 2012

Praise the Lord! I’m glad to bring you the very last edition of this column for the year 2012. I am grateful to my readers for keeping faith with this column throughout the year. I am particularly grateful to God for all the messages published in the year, especially the blessing that this column has been to many readers –the impact on people’s lives.

This year ends on Monday, and it is just right to focus your mind on giving thanks to God in the remaining hours of this year. This is because giving thanks is the will of God. 1 Thess 5:18 says, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT).

The Bible also says you should give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 5:20).  And in Col 3:17, the Bible says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (NKJV). 

Whatever you’ve received from the Lord this year is not a right; it is a privilege – you don’t deserve it. It’s not because of your holiness, your goodness or your prayer and fasting. “It is not by force, nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zech 4:6 NLT).  It is because of the faithfulness of God to His Word and to you.

On the other hand, you may have suffered some shocking disappointments in the year, some frustrations, some unrealised goals, some unmet expectations etc. These are not enough reasons not to give thanks to God.The psalmist said,“Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember your kindness…” (Ps 42:6 NLT). This should be your attitude. Give thanks to God in spite of any negative condition you may be in now, or you may have gone through in the year.

Don’t be ungrateful
The Bible tells us the story of nine ungrateful lepers (Luke 17:12-19). Jesus healed them but their healing manifested on their way to show themselves to the priest as required by the law. While nine of the lepers went away without returning to Jesus, even if just to confirm to him that their healing had manifested, only one leper came back to thank him for the healing.

And it is instructive that the Bible remarks that the leper who came back to show gratitude was a foreigner. The New Living Translation renders the word “foreigner” as Samaritan.

Samaritans were despised by Jews, yet the despised Samaritan was the one who had the courtesy to come back to thank Jesus. And to him Jesus said, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”  The American Standard Version renders the latter part thus: “Arise, and go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” That comment of Jesus suggests that the other nine lepers were only healed but not made whole or made well. Showing gratitude to God for His mercies, His kindness will make you whole, your home, your marriage etc.

The nine lepers that didn’t return to thank Jesus for his healing were most probably Jews because they were not foreigners.

They must have seen Jesus as one of them. They took him for granted. That’s what a lot of people do. Hit and run! But you should never take God for granted at this time of the year and always. God does not owe you anything. Don’t become too familiar with his goodness.

The Book of Psalm severally underscored the need to give thanks to God for all his goodness and kindness. We are told to come before his presence with thanksgiving.

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