Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. There are debates about when and where the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. It is certain that Thanksgiving celebrations were held during the 16th and 17th centuries in the colonies. However, as president of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America on November 26, 1789. We have set aside a time for giving thanks as a people in America before there was even a nation. I want to take this opportunity to share a few brief thoughts about Thanksgiving.
Ephesians 5:4 says, “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient (fitting): but rather giving of thanks.” Paul is discussing the ways a believer should behave. There are several aspects he shares about the believer’s life. In this passage he says we are to walk in love and to live a life marked by purity. In verse 4 Paul shares how a believer should and shouldn’t talk. I want to arrest this verse out of the text and point a couple of things out.
I. PAUL SHARES WHAT TO AVOID WITH OUR SPEECH.
Filthiness – This word in the Greek literally means to speak of what is shameful or deformed. This is indecent or obscene conversation.
Foolish Talking – This is not speaking of innocent humor but rather is speaking of conversations that cheapen the people having them and does not build up or accomplish anything. This does not necessarily condemn small talk and chit-chat but as Barnes says, “Christians should aim to have their conversation sensible and serious.”
Jesting – This word literally means “able to turn easily.” This speaks of an individual who can easily turn any conversation from something that is serious and beneficial to something that does not build up because they introduce jests that are out of place and inappropriate. Humor is a great gift, however, this gift paired with a mind that is carnal destroys good, Godly conversations.
II. PAUL SHARES WHAT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH OUR SPEECH.
Rather than having all the above in our speech Paul tells the believer to give thanks. Sometimes we are quick to turn a conversation to a bad place by our foolish talking and jesting; we should be quick to give thanks. As believers Paul says we should have the pattern of giving thanks in our lives.
I am convinced of all the disciplines Christians are to have giving thanks has to be as important as any. In Exodus 20:17 the last commandment is “Do not covet.” It has been pointed out that covetousness is the final command because if one is guilty of breaking this commandment they open themselves up to breaking all the other commandments. The more we give thanks for what we have the better our spiritual walk will be. We should be quick to give thanks throughout each day. Look at a few verses about giving thanks.
I Chronicles 16:8 reads, “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.” Giving thanks makes the Lord’s deeds known to those we come in contact with.
Psalm 50:14 says, “Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High.” Our thanksgiving to God should be marked by our devotion to Him.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks.” Our thanksgiving to God should not happen occasionally or only when what believe to be good comes our way. We should thank God in all things. Our practice should be to look for a way to thank God in every situation.
I want to conclude my Thanksgiving devotional thoughts by sharing the 10 things I am most grateful for.
1. God’s Grace.
2. God’s Grace.
3. God’s Grace.
4. God’s Grace.
5. God’s Grace.
6. God’s Grace.
7. God’s Grace.
8. God’s Grace.
9. God’s Grace.
10. God’s Grace.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!