Giving Thanks

Give ThanksAt Immanuel we recently wrapped up a three week sermon series about giving thanks. As you get ready for family and turkey and football, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.


  • Instead of thanking God for the people who are in our lives, we should thank God for how his grace has changed the people who are in our lives. Paul did this for the church in Corinth. Despite their faults, he was thankful for God’s grace in their lives. He no longer saw them as a “messy” group of people. Instead, because of God’s grace, Paul saw them as called out ones, as set apart ones, as holy ones.
  • Real thanksgiving should always overflow into genuine encouragement for other people. It’s one thing to tell God your thankful for someone. It’s another thing to let your thanksgiving go public by encouraging the person for whom you are thankful. Paul did this for the church in Thessalonica, and we should do it, too. This week make sure to let your thanksgiving go public in the form of heartfelt encouragement.
  • Our thanksgiving must always be cross centered. When Paul gave thanks for the church in Colossae, and when he asked God to make the Colossians thankful people, the cross was at the center of his thinking. God’s grace is a beautiful thing, but without a bloody cross it’s just an empty idea. Our thanksgiving must always center on the cross where Jesus purchased every good gift we enjoy as God’s people.
  • True thanksgiving is always focused on the Giver, not on his gifts. Too often, when we try to be thankful we end up making lists of people and possessions. In doing this, we put our blessings at the center, and we forget to focus on the Giver of all good things. This year take a cue from Psalm 100. “Old One-Hundredth” is the only psalm written for giving thanks, and it totally focuses on the Giver, not his gifts.

Originally published November 21, 2016 on