A Devotional Reading for Thanksgiving Day

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 107 (Read at least verses 1-22.)

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving Day, let’s get back to the basics and ask the question- What does it mean to give thanks?  We might note that the two words “thank” and “think” are different by only one letter, which shows us that these two words have a common ancient root and are very much connected in meaning.  Therefore, to thank someone is to say out loud what you are thinking.  Even more, to thank someone is to tell them that you are conscious and aware of their kindness in doing something for you.

The next step, then, in giving thanks is to see that it is always better to name the thing for which we are thankful.  Instead of just saying, “Thank you!” we should say, “Thank you FOR your kindness!” or even more specifically, “Thank you FOR the gift (or help, or encouragement) you gave me.”  When we name the specific thing for which we are thankful, we show that we are not just saying “Thank you” to be polite but are truly expressing our mind and heart.

And this is exactly what Psalm 107 teaches us!  It begins with a call to “give thanks to the LORD,” but it continues by saying, “FOR he is good, FOR his steadfast love endures forever!”  Even more, verse 2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…” that is, let God’s redeemed people say out loud that God has, in fact, redeemed them!  The NIV puts it this way- “Let the redeemed of the LORD say this…,” which ties together the call to give thanks with the naming of what God had done.  He had redeemed them “from the hand of the foe,” He had gathered them “from the lands, from east and west, from north and  south.”  Even further, Psalm 107 goes on to recount, even more specifically, how God had saved and rescued His people from various trials and times of trouble.

Perhaps this past year has been a year of trouble for you.  And yet here you are at another Thanksgiving table with health enough to eat and with food enough to share.  Remember to give thanks to God FOR His blessings, by naming what He has done!  But regardless of what we have or don’t have in this life, we too are God’s redeemed people through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, let us give thanks to God FOR His blessings to us in Christ!  Let us give thanks to God FOR the blood of Christ to cleanse us from sin, FOR the righteousness of Christ counted to us by faith, and FOR the glory of Christ waiting for us in heaven.  Let us give thanks to God, specifically naming all that is ours by way of the finished work of Christ our Savior.


Father in heaven, forgive us for just going through the motions in our thanksgiving to You.  Help us to think, to remember, and to give thanks to you FOR your many blessings.  Most of all, help us to be thoughtful and thankful every day for the finished work of Christ, the Gospel of our salvation.  Thank you for Your grace to us in Him and for saving us from our sins.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.