Giving Thanks is More than a Tradition

When the kids were younger and going in every direction – work, sports, activities of all kinds we grabbed dinner on the go. I remember thinking that I should just pray over the groceries when I carried them in the house. That way I would have said the blessing, given thanks or said grace before it was all eaten. I know that’s silly but giving thanks at meal time wasn’t a traditional thing to do for me it was (and still is) a heartfelt expression of appreciation.

You see I remember the days when there wasn’t enough to eat, I remember taking my little calculator to the store to add up the groceries as I put them in my cart so that I wouldn’t get to the register and have to put things back. I remember the times when the refrigerator was empty except for the condiments in the door and I was faced with what to do for dinner, only to have friends who “just happened to be dropping by” come in with a trunk full of groceries. Yes, giving thanks isn’t a tradition but a sincere voicing of my thankfulness for the Lord’s blessings in our lives.

Look at a time when Jesus gave thanks. Let me set the scene – 5000 men, not to mention their wives and children, are on a hillside listening to Jesus teach. All Jesus has for food is 5 barley loaves and 2 small fishes, a lunch meant to meet the needs of a boy. His disciples are concerned that Jesus preaching is going overtime and the people are getting hungry. They tell Him he needs to wrap it up and dismiss the crowd so they can get to town for dinner before the restaurants close.

But Jesus asks the disciples a question instead – “Jesus looked up and saw a crowd of people coming toward him. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough bread for all these people to eat?” 6 He asked Philip this question to test him. Jesus already knew what he planned to do.

7 Philip answered, “We would all have to work a month to buy enough bread for each person here to have only a little piece!” John 6:5-7 ERV

Then Peter spoke up and said we have a boy here who brought some fish and bread but that’s all we have!

Now mind you, these are the same guys who were with Jesus at the wedding when they ran out of wine and they saw Jesus turn barrels of water into wine, really good wine. They had forgotten that and were focused on the situation at hand. Too many people, not enough food! What to do?

“And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:10-12

So you have Jesus giving thanks. He is giving thanks for what he knows God is about to do. He is giving thanks for God’s word being true. He is giving thanks for God being faithful and revealing his love to the disciples and this group.

Jesus had been teaching them about prayer, teaching them… to ask and it shall be given unto to you; take no thought for what you will get or drink or what you will put on because you’re heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things; whatsoever things you desire when you pray believe you receive them and you shall have them. This is God’s word and it is true so – GIVE THANKS! Jesus gave thanks before the miracle occurred and not after He saw it – He had faith in what God was going to do.

What is your “feeding the 5000” moment? Are you begging God and telling Him how bad things are or a you giving thanks in advance for what you know He has promised to do.

Today is a good day to give thanks!