November 22 I Tuesday
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” —Colossians 3:17
Who are we to be thankful to? About 15 years ago, The Toronto Star published an article entitled, “Thank Who? Very Much.” The writer talked about hiking one late summer’s day along a trail through a beautiful forest. He described how the birds were chirping and darting about above him from branch to branch, while the occasional squirrel and chipmunk were frolicking in the undergrowth. There were beautiful wild flowers dotted around and the blue sky occasionally seen through the umbrella of trees that were all over the trail that he was walking. Following the path, he suddenly came alongside a pristine lake; he walked down a hill to its edge and registered the warmth of the sunshine on his face. He then expressed, “Feelings welled up inside me, physical pleasure, delight in the sounds and sights, gladness to be out there on this day, but something else as well was within me, curious and less distinct. A vague feeling, more like gratitude than anything else, but not towards any being or any person I could recognize. Only half-formed, the feeling didn’t fit easily into any discernible category. Who does an atheist like me thank?”
The writer goes on in the two-page article to present somewhat of an animist response by saying that we acknowledge our dependence upon a reliable, physical world, where the sun rises every morning and sets every evening. We live in a universe that operates in harmony and that we need to express this gratitude to our ancestors, both distant and recent and to their struggles and to other people’s labour, which has helped set the table at which we feast and rejoice. What started off as a great article, actually ended a little depressing. The answer the writer was looking for was in the title of his article, “Thank Who? Very Much”—although he did not acknowledge it in his body of text, he did recognize that there was a “who” to be thanked somewhere, not a “what.”
Surely one of the evidences for God is our need to express gratitude to someone bigger than our human surroundings. We have to have a place to park our gratitude. We say “Thank You,” because we recognize that everything in this world originates in God. We say “Thank You,” because of our dependence on God and because of our security in God. It is tremendously liberating if, in everything we do, we give thanks to God. Even when we do not like what we are doing, may we take a moment today and acknowledge God by praying, “Lord, thank You that I can do this. Thank You for the strength, energy and life itself. Thank You!”
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for today. All of creation points to You and Your goodness that is all around. Praise You for all that You are!