Give ThanksWhen our family sits down to the table to eat, we pray.  We start every meal by thanking God for our food.  In most cases, it’s the food we just made.  There are people who think it is a bit odd.  For people who don’t know God, it must seem quite strange… why would you thank God for something you just made yourself?

Of course, we know he provided the ingredients, intelligence, and technology to cook a meal.  Yes, I could say I “own” the ingredients – my husband worked for the money to buy the ingredients and the kitchen in which I cooked it.  I studied to learn to cook and I spent my time and energy to make the food.  But if you look far enough back, you still get to God.  He created the water, caused the sun and rain for the wheat to grow, hid the fungus in the dark that would eventually cause my bread to rise, and so on.  So when we thank him for the food, I am thanking him for all he has down to bring us to the point of eating this meal together.

Okay.  It’s pretty easy for most Christians to see the path from creation to cuisine.  Food is one of those things that direct our hearts to God in thankfulness.

Other things can be harder to recognize.

It is sometimes hard to remember God created me with the gifts, intelligence, and drive to succeed in my field of expertise.  I tend to accept praise as if I’d arrived at this place by the sweat of my brow.  In reality, the need for the sweat of my brow is my only real contribution.  I was made for an un-fallen world.  My sin broke things and now it is hard to do what I was made to do.

God created me for a purpose, I added the difficulty to accomplishing it.

I sometimes blame him for the trials I encounter as I seek to answer his call, but how often do I thank him for how he uniquely created me and for the privilege of being part of his plan for redemption?

What about friends?  Do I give God the glory and turn to him in thankfulness for my relationships?  God is all about relationship.  Before the existence of the universe, he was in perfect relationship within the God-head: Father, Son, and Spirit in perfect, unbroken unity.  Then he created man – in his own image – for relationship.  He invited us into the sweet, eternal communion with Father, Son, and Spirit.  And he created other people for relationship, too.

All our relationships were designed to direct us toward God.  Sometimes I think certain relationships direct me toward God because they are so difficult they drive me to my knees, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. 🙂

You know, when we pray and give thanks before a meal when we are in public, sometimes people wonder a little bit about our family.  In a good way.  What would it be like if people saw us regularly giving thanks for our abilities – properly assigning credit and praise?  What would it say to a watching world if we took time to pause and thank God, regularly, for our relationships?  The good, the bad, and the ugly?

We were created with gifts and for relationships that direct us to God.  What would it do to our hearts if we consistently thanked God, praised him, and gave him the credit/glory for who we are and who we know?

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Give Thanks by Albrecht Dürer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons