Thanksgiving: The Mark Of A Christian

October 14, 2019
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Ephesians 5:20 – Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

One day, as the tale goes, an atheist hiker encountered a formidable grizzly bear slinking towards him. Terrified, the hiker broke into a run and tripped. As the bear descended upon him, he cried, "O God!" Instantly a voice spoke: "You deny my existence and credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect Me to help you now?" The atheist responded, "I'd be hypocritical to ask for Your help, so make the bear a Christian." Just then, the bear hovering over him bowed its head and said, "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful."

There you have it! Indeed, thankfulness is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. Giving thanks is instinctive for those who trust in God and know His presence. Thankfulness reflects one's lofty view of God.

Unsurprisingly, with the rise of atheism, many wish to change "Thanksgiving Day" to "Turkey Day". This new label may say more about those wishing the change than about their dinner. I'm thinking of the slang use of "turkey", referring to someone as inept, stupid, or a loser. Even Scripture would suggest that:

Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NIV)

In other words, they became "turkeys": their thinking became foolish. According to Romans chapter one, this is the predictable outcome of a society which no longer gives God the credit and where people stop giving thanks to Him. That would explain our general decline in wisdom and thoughtfulness. No wonder that we see a decrease in gratitude accompanying an increase in resentful attitudes.

Indisputably, the absence of thanksgiving is a mark of unbelief — even as thanksgiving is a mark of belief.

As I write this, two recent conversations come to mind. One was with a person with faith, the other, without. The contrast was striking. The believer was waiting to hear a possibly fatal diagnosis. Yet, in our conversation, she overflowed with thankfulness for all the friends who came to her side. She then expressed concern for a neighbour with health troubles. Her overall tone was gratitude and other-centeredness — as always. The other person, the one without faith, expressed disillusionment over his job. He hadn't received a decent raise in years, and his superiors were hogging huge salary increases for themselves. For him, the unfairness was robbing his joy. I suspect that if he had recently escaped from a tyrannical regime, he would be overflowing with gratitude for his job.

Personally speaking, I find it easy to feel thankful for good things. But I'm less inclined to be thankful in unfavourable circumstances. That's because I get more focused on wavering circumstances than on our steady God.

If that's a challenge for you, too, you may wish to join me in this prayer:

Prayer: Heavenly Provider, help me to remain centred on the power of Your lovingkindness so that I can become a consistently thankful person. Amen.

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Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May we do just that, Diane.

    Amen! To God be the glory! Blessings.

    So true, thanks for your insight, Diane. Blessings!

    Thanksgiving Truth!!! …So much here, Diane. Thank you!

    Thanks, Diane, for this encouragement to be thankful in all things.

    Dear Diane, Thank you for people who write inspiring devotionals. May you have many positive reasons to be thankful. May you have a blessed day.

    Hi Diane, and Happy Thanksgiving!
    I’d like to thank you for your devotional on our Canadian Thanksgiving.

    Hi Diane,
    Oh wow, the power of a thankful heart!
    Thank you so much this reminder. I for one, am thankful that you wrote this devotional!

    Diane, I have often enjoyed your devotions, but I found this one exceptional. May both our countries resolve to abandon secularism and realize our extraordinary blessings! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fellow Canadians.
    (Virginia, USA)

    Greetings Diane,
    Thank you for this very meaningful and mindful devotional. We have so much to be thankful to our Lord each and every day and your closing prayer expresses this precisely.
    Blessings to you and may this be a Blessed Thanksgiving Day for you.

    Thank you, Diane, for your prayer.
    And I broke out in a laugh over:
    The atheist responded, “I’d be hypocritical to ask for Your help, so make the bear a Christian.”
    Just then, the bear hovering over him bowed its head and said, “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”
    Indisputably, the absence of thanksgiving is a mark of unbelief – even as thanksgiving is a mark of belief. Yes.
    Keep writing, Diane.

    Good day, Diane, Thank you for your Thanksgiving devotional. My first reaction was “Are you kidding, turkey day!” My second thought was “Oh this is in keeping with secularism.” A few years ago, Family Service Canada was promoting Family Week to end on Thanksgiving Day and for some reason it did not capture the interest of the country nor the churches. Thanksgiving in all of its possible expressions is about families, couples, and people getting together and expressing thanks for one another.

    Hi Diane, Thank you for your message. In keeping with your idea of unwavering faith, our visiting minister yesterday talked about visiting the area to watch the fish travel up the ladder for spawning. He admired their persistence, admitting that he would have given up, gone back downstream, and forgotten about continuing the life of the species. Persistence in being thankful was his message to all in attendance; persistence in ‘walking the walk’ of a Christ follower.
    I had much to think about as I listened to our guest, and again today as I read your devotion. It is so easy to be distracted when circumstances don’t go the way we think life should.
    Thank you again for your ‘persistent’ reminders to stay the straight and narrow. I very much enjoy your messages.

    Beautiful! So true. Blessings.

    What has been called “an attitude of gratitude” also makes us healthier and better able to handle stress.
    Thanks for writing.

    Hi Diane. I’ve enjoyed your writings over the years. Today resonated with our grief group. Be thankful. Really thankful for my husband’s sudden death? Not being able to get a job.
    Thankful? Yep.
    Then I took a medical class. Other students had such loose lifestyles and drug addicted husbands that I became thankful for the wonderful forty years that I was married to a compassionate Christian man.
    I’m thankful my husband is worshipping the Lord in freedom. I’m thankful he doesn’t have to deal with the lawsuit about his business.
    Lonely but thankful.
    God bless.

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