He preached it clear and strong, that being thankful is not enough, and I almost missed it.
And it perplexed me at first. Isn't being thankful the goal? Isn't that what we've been told and trained and expected to do since our earliest years?
But as I listened on I realized he was right.
Being thankful is not enough.
Being thankful - full of thanks - is just the first step. Giving thanks is what we are meant to do with our thankfulness.
Thankfulness itself is a feeling, a being filled up with thanks on the inside, a joy and happiness and excitement over the gift. But giving thanks is a response that turns our attention off of the gift and onto the Giver.
"Giving thanks takes our eyes off of our gifts and puts them back onto the giver. It takes something that was once self-centered and internal, and makes it more about the relationship between the giver and the receiver of the gift."
We were never meant to fill up full of thanks and keep it to ourselves. Being thankful will never satisfy our hearts in the way that giving thanks is meant to. Because giving thanks isn't about the gift, its about the relationship between the Giver and the Receiver.
As I listened, I realized that somewhere along the line, I've stopped giving thanks and settled for simply being thankful. And there is little joy that comes from simply being thankful. Because if being thankful is about the gift, then it will never satisfy.
Giving thanks to the Giver of all good gifts, brings me into intimacy with God, and it is intimacy with God that will truly satisfy my soul.
"A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."
As we come to this day of giving thanks, I'm being careful to remember Who I'm giving thanks to. Because so often we write our gratitudes in a list or throw our thanks into the wind without any thought of Who we are directing our thanks towards.
Even the giving of thanks will prove itself fruitless, unless we direct our thanks and our hearts toward the One who gave us the gifts we are declaring our thanks for.
So this Thanksgiving week, I'm taking my moments of thankfulness and turning them into moments of intimacy with my God through the giving of thanks. And I'm praying this reminder will prove fruitful to more than just me.
Will you join me in the giving of thanks and the building of intimacy with the Giver of all good gifts?