Is there a difference between being thankful for or thankful to? I think there is, and the difference is huge.
This Thanksgiving was filled with TV personalities saying they were “thankful” for this and that. Offerings included the usual; health, success, blah, blah, blah. Many of them seized the opportunity to follow it up with some shpeel or another regarding their personal, strategic, popularity increasing ‘celebrity cause,’ (insert gag here). Ok, ok, I may be coming on a bit hard on these poor misunderstood (overpaid), sincere (for the camera) folks, but the trend isn’t limited to them. It doesn’t even stop with the genuine, people loving, polititions either (insert sarcasm here). It affects you and I as well.
Are you thankful for or thankful to?
Here’s the difference. Think of the times you hear people offering their thankfulness…it’s usually for a list of all the nice things or accolades, awards, fans, material possessions, etc. And, to be honest, I guess it’s better to have a thankful feeling than an entitlement feeling (for more on this google, Paris Hilton). But who are they giving thanks to? Is the goal of a grateful heart simply to create a warm fuzzy called gratefulness? Here’s what God’s Word has to say on the subject:
When you offer sacrifices to give thanks to me, you must use only your finest flour. Put it in a dish, sprinkle olive oil and incense on the flour… Leviticus 2:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34
15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Luke 17:15-17
Aside: Where were the other nine? Probably doing interviews and saying how thankful they were FOR… <-- Just a thought :) I think this sums it up best, Romans 1:20-22 (NLT), 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities;his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
So, did you catch it? Just being thankful is not enough. In fact, it’s basically worthless. Worse, it may be spiritually harmful. Without ackknowledgement of God, we will come up with foolish alternatives. Because we know that the things we are thankful for had to come from somewhere. But where? Who?
Hint–> James 1:17, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
It’s not enough to have a warm fuzzy we call, “thankfulness.” In fact, once all the smoke and mirrors are removed from a ‘thankful FOR’ person, we’ve really revealed that we are thankful for, well, US (look up, ‘humanism’). Embarrassing isn’t it? Let me reveal it one more way then I’m off to prepare for the Christmas series.
When our kids are given something, what do we teach them to say?
Option 1, Oh, I am so thankful for this! Whoopi! How would you like it if your 8 year old received something wonderful and thoughtful from a relative and then all they did was jump up and down looking at the object of their desire and declaring their thankfulness FOR it to the wind? I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t like it. You’d be embarrassed for their behavior. And what would you immediately do?
Option 2, You would correct little Johnny by saying, “What do you say?” (At this point you might even point little Johnny’s little face directly to Aunt Gertrude so that there is no misunderstanding as to WHO he should be grateful TO. Am I right?
So, before Thanksgiving fades from our memory for another year, while there’s still time left this weekend, give thanks TO THE LORD for He is GOOD!
You out there?