Malankara World

Thanksgiving

True Thanksgiving

by Ralph Bouma

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy,” MAT 5:7.

The Lord tells us, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” We must understand mercy so we can be conformed to the image of Christ. What is it on our part to be merciful? What does it mean to show mercy? It means not to treat a person according to the injuries we have received. It means that we treat them above what they deserve.

To be merciful is to be forgiving. It says in MAR 11:25-26, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” If you ask for mercy, you must be merciful because those who do not show mercy shall receive judgment without mercy.

There is another exhortation to be merciful in LUK 6:35; “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” The Lord uses this illustration to show that because He is kind to the unthankful and unmerciful, then we must show mercy if we want to receive mercy. Verse 26 says, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” If we are asking for mercy, we must show mercy. The psalmist recognized that God’s mercy is one-sided.

We have no right to the least benefit from the Lord. This is what the psalmist was referring to when he said, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” He had nothing within himself whereby he could reward the Lord. He saw that he must receive His benefits strictly as mercy, strictly as undeserved favor.

It says in ROM 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Our only right has been forfeited. We have no right to lay claim to anything. If the Lord had cast us all away forever, we would only have received what we deserved. The least mercy should promote thanksgiving.

We are exhorted in MIC 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Just saying, “I thank thee, Lord,” is not giving thanks. Thanksgiving is our response to those things that we have received. How do we respond? If we see the mercy of God, do we just say, “Thanks for the mercy, Lord,” and go on being unmerciful? No, our gratitude is reflected in our response. We show gratitude by being merciful. We show gratitude by walking humbly with our God. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” This is the fruit of a heart that is humble and that is receiving mercy from the Lord.

This self-knowledge is what prompted the words of our text. The psalmist wrote, “I said in my haste, All men are liars. What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” PSA 116:11-12. Verses 14-17 go on to say, “I will pay my vows…Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints….I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” He began with “All men are liars.” He saw that his walk did not deserve the least mercy. That is what prompted him to say, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” He saw that his hands were empty; he had nothing.

What shall we render unto the Lord? We must render gratitude, thanksgiving. How do we do that? Not with words only, but with our lives, with the reflection of unworthiness and the return of gratitude by showing mercy, by being merciful. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

The Lord is glorified by true gratitude. In PSA 69:30 we read, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” When we reflect the image of Christ, when we reflect mercy - these things that show that the light of Christ is in us - the Lord is glorified. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” The Lord is magnified, the Lord’s name is exalted, and the Lord is glorified when our hearts are humble by acknowledging His mercy. There is nothing more dishonoring to the Lord than if we come as though we deserve, as though we have some right, or as though we can lay claim to any of His blessings, because we have forfeited all. Amen.

All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed powers;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours;
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my days and all my hours.

Let my hands perform His bidding,
Let my feet run in His ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only,
Let my lips speak forth His praise;
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
Let my lips speak forth His praise.

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the Crucified;
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
Looking at the Crucified.

Of what wonder! How amazing!
Jesus, glorious King of kings,
Deigns to call me His beloved,
Lets me rest beneath His wings;
All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
Resting now beneath His wings.
Mary D. James, 19th century

See Also:

Bringing a Sacrifice of Praise
by April Motl

How to give thanks in all circumstances
by Dr. Jack Graham

A Thankful Tomorrow
by Ryan Duncan

Giving Thanks Always
by Adrian Rogers

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