I’ve always been fascinated by word studies. Perhaps because I’m a nerd at heart or because of the tremendous insight one obtains plowing the depths of Scripture, word studies continually give me greater revelation of Jesus and the heart of Scripture. Seeing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I wanted to share one particular word study.
Countless times throughout Scripture the word “thanks” is used. “Give thanks in everything,” Paul exhorts. “Give thanks to His Name,” the writer of Hebrews declares. “We give thanks to God for you,” “Let no filthy talk come out of your mouth, but rather give thanks.” You begin to think there is an obsession with thankfulness. And no doubt this is true. Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 5.18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Do you realize that the will of God for you is to continually, every moment of the day, without ceasing, have a life of thanksgiving?!?! Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year event where we stuff our faces and sit back for a brief moment to reminisce about how good we got it. Thanksgiving is a lifestyle.
What would your life look like if all the complaining, frustration, anxiety, problems, issues, circumstances, gripping, distrust, confusion, criticizing, and grumbling were swallowed up in a life of thanksgiving? If the fragrance of your life was Jesus rather than the stench yourself? I am continually around people who are “woe is me” or “can you believe so and so did such and such.” Yes I am guilty too. But Such a life is polluting and only produces death to the people around you. But the life of a Christian is about one single thing – Jesus. If we truly grappled with a full understanding what it means to have Jesus in one’s life, how could we do anything but praise and give thanks? Again as Paul declares in 1 Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
Perhaps the problem is not seeing life as God sees it. Perhaps all you can see is the single tree before you and have missed the beauty of the forest. Romans 8.28 says that “ALL things work together for good, for those who love God.” Even the most tragic or destructive experience can be used for the glory and grandeur of Jesus if we will allow Him to work it for His good and pleasure. In such light, can we keep from living a life of Thanksgiving? A popular worship song states “You give and take away, yet my heart will choose to say, ‘Lord blessed be Your Name!'” May we begin to allow Jesus to give us His perspective in our every situation that we too may declare in the good or the bad “Lord blessed be Your Name!”
This brings me to the actual word study. The word “thanks” throughout the New Testament is the Greek word “eucharisteo” – where we get our word “Eucharist” (Lord’s Supper/Communion). Do you see that when you take communion and go before “The Lord’s Table,” it is an act of pure thanksgiving. It is a time to give thanks for the greatest gift and sacrifice ever made, the death (and life) of Jesus on your behalf. Luke 22 is the story of the Last Supper, where Jesus broke bread and shared wine with His disciples before His crucifixion. Several times throughout the passage it reads that He “gave thanks” (eucharisteo) as the symbolic body and blood of Christ was passed. This was not a table of turkey and dressing, this was the thanksgiving table of bread and wine, a symbolic feasting on the our Saviour’s body and blood.
So the first “Thanksgiving” wasn’t 1621 but they did use that time to offer Thanksgiving for all the Lord had provided. The Real Thanksgiving was in fact done in the presence of Jesus Christ and should be practiced that way every time we take communion.
This Thanksgiving, may we move for cheesy and superficial moments of reminiscing and instead enter into the depths of true thanksgiving – communion (Eucharist) with the Saviour. May your every moment today be overflowing with the glory, grace, goodness, and grandeur of Jesus! May He capture and ravish your heart with His Person. May your life take on the fragrance of His nature in an attitude of constant thankfulness. And may your day be brimming with praise and adoration for the love and sacrifice poured out upon the Cross on your behalf. Happy Thanksgiving … every day.