Rooted in Christ

Seasoned with Thanksgiving

For Christians giving thanks is not seasonal so much as it is a seasoning.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18, ESV)

Our country’s celebration of Thanksgiving could not be any later this year. That means we have less shopping days before Christmas but extra time to think about what we’re going to give thanks for around the festive table.

For Christians, however, giving thanks is not seasonal so much as it is a seasoning. Believers are to give thanks in all things. All the circumstances of life are to be basted with expressions of gratitude toward God.

Giving thanks radically alters our experience. Like salt to food, thanks as a seasoning brings out flavor and transforms our affections. When we are prone to grumble and complain, giving thanks shifts our attention to the blessings that lace life’s experiences. Instead of looking at what we don’t have, we focus on what we do have.

Like medicine to the soul Paul prescribes the tonic of thanksgiving at times of anxiety. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4–6, italics added). In whatever circumstance, thanks takes note of the presence of the Lord and takes hold of the joy of the Lord. It draws the peace of God to the surface.

In his letter to the Colossians, we see Paul’s liberal seasoning with thankgiving, particularly as a promoter of peace.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:15–17; italics added).

Thanksgiving sets the table of the heart with a feast of the blessings of God. It drives the conversation around the table of the redeemed, eager to testify to the bounty of God. And it spreads throughout the life of the believer influencing those around us for the cause of Christ, not just on a designated day but in the daily rhythm of discipleship.

Giving thanks sees the events of life extended to us by the good hand of our God. We say with the psalmist: “You crown the year with your bounty” (Psalm 65:11). As believers we don’t just say thanks, we give thanks to our God. We delight in the gift but we particularly delight in the Giver. Most of all, we rejoice in the gift of His Son that tunes our hearts to sing His praise. Our thanks reach the ear of God “in Christ.”

Seasoning with thanks allows us to savor the goodness, grace, and glory of our God in all things. Thanks also becomes a sacrifice of praise to Him from whom all blessings flow.

Digging Deeper

  1. How does giving thanks serve as a remedy for grumbling and complaining?
  2. How does Col. 3:17 direct us to give thanks in season and out of season?     

“I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (Psalm 138:1–3, ESV). 

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Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved. Those marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.