The Apostle Paul addresses thanksgiving in two of his letters. To the church of Philippi he wrote: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 To his son in the faith, Timothy, he wrote: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men…” I Timothy 2:1 In these two passages, thanksgiving is paired with prayer.
To really understand thanksgiving, however, we must look to the song book of the Old Testament, the book of Psalms. Psalm 100 is specifically referred to as a Psalm for thanksgiving. Thanksgiving here is paired with praise. May we enter, not only this holiday, but every day of worship, with praise and thanksgiving!
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing,
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
By Pastor Paul Johnson, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.