It is Thanksgiving season once again in America. This is the time of the year when we gather with family and friends to feast together, giving thanks for God’s goodness in the previous year. Here in 2020, however, Thanksgiving comes at a difficult time. For so many, this has been a year of isolation, uncertainty, fear, and even loss. Now, as many states once again enforce restrictions on social gatherings, it seems even Thanksgiving will not escape the troubles of 2020. But what if Thanksgiving was not merely an event, but a way of life?
Spurgeon spoke of thanksgiving hundreds of times in his writings and sermons. But thanksgiving was not an occasional event, rooted on circumstances or holidays or good food. Rather, thanksgiving was to be a part of the Christian life. This is what Spurgeon called thanks-living.
Then, brethren, we ought to be always thanks-living. I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving — thanks-living. How is this to be done? By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of him by whose mercy we live, by a perpetual, constant, delighting ourselves in the Lord, and submission of our desires to his mind. Oh! I wish that our whole life might be a psalm; that every day might be a stanza of a mighty poem; that so from the day of our spiritual birth until we enter heaven we might be pouring forth sacred minstrelsy in every thought. and word, and action of our lives. Let us give him thankfulness and thanks-living.
This kind of thankfulness was rooted in the character and acts of God. Therefore, amid trials and difficulties, the Christian ever has reason for praising and thanking God for His unchanging goodness. Reflecting on Psalm 107:1, Spurgeon writes,
It is all we can give him, and the least we can give; therefore, let us diligently render to him our thanksgiving. The psalmist is in earnest in the exhortation, hence the use of the interjection “O”, to intensity his words: let us be at all times thoroughly fervent in the praises of the Lord, both with our lips and with our lives, by thanksgiving and thanks-living. JEHOVAH, for that is the name here used, is not to be worshipped with groans and cries, but with thanks, for he is good; and these thanks should be heartily rendered, for his is no common goodness: he is good by nature, and essence, and proven to be good in all the acts of his eternity. Compared with him there is none good, no, no one: but he is essentially, perpetually, superlatively, infinitely good. We are the perpetual partakers of his goodness, and therefore ought above all his creatures to magnify his name. Our praise should be increased by the fact that the divine goodness is not a transient thing, but in the attribute of mercy abides forever the same.
What if before we ever begin our Thanksgiving season, we were to start living thanks before God in a continual state? What if we prayerfully recognized where all things come from every day of the year? Even more, what if our thanksgiving was rooted not in our circumstances, but in God Himself? Giving thanks to God for all His blessings and provisions at Thanksgiving time is a wonderful tradition but continuing this year around becomes more than tradition. It becomes a way of life, made possible by the love of God shown to us in Christ. This is how we can live in a state of constant praise and adoration for our Lord.
Whether your Thanksgiving celebrations this year are marked by festivity or isolation, may Spurgeon’s words and the Word of God show us what true Christian thankfulness is all about.
Thanksgiving is a good thing, thanks-living is a better.