George H. Guthrie

            George H. Guthrie


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1 Main Thing the Psalms of Thanks Do For Us

1 Main Thing the Psalms of Thanks Do For Us

Have you ever thanked God for the shoes you wore today? How about the tastes you have experienced this week? Pick one you especially enjoyed, and think about it for a moment, letting the memory dance across your tongue. Have you thanked God for the color palette your eyes paint across your brain as you scan the room right now? Wasn't blue a good idea? Focus in on 3 things in sight for which you have never thanked God and do so now. We need to nurture a rhythm of thoughtful, life-permeating thankfulness.

In a publication by Harvard Medical School, giving thanks is lauded as basic to a healthy life. The author writes,

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

In other words, thanks-giving forms a fundamental aspect of human flourishing. God made us to be outwards focused, attentive to those around us, including those who have blessed us in some way. And God made us to be especially oriented to himself with hearts that overflow with thanks.

There are many things the psalms of thanks do for us. They articulate for us appropriate responses to the good we have in life. They put to words a joyful relief when God delivers us from difficulty or harm:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, and his loyal love endures! Let those delivered by the LORD speak out, those whom he delivered from the power of the enemy . . . (Ps 107:1–2 NET)

The psalms of thanks offer us a rhythm of reflective gratitude, forged in the quiet of personal Bible reading, as well as worship in the community of the saints.

But the main thing the psalms of thanks do for us is point us to the Great Giver. For he is the Source of every good and perfect gift; the thanksgiving psalms, as they weave their way through the foundational songbook of God's people, help us attend appropriately to him. Notice all the references to God in Psalm 100. Read the psalm, emphasizing those references out loud!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth! 
2Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Ps 100:1–5 NIV11)

Such psalms of thanks put words to a deep sense that we owe Someone else for the blessings of life. Even the spiritually poor at times are thankful (they may call it "being lucky"), but it is an ambiguous and undirected sense of gratitude; it has no place to go. Although we as Christ-followers have times of intense awareness of how fallen, broken the world is and how painful our own lives can be, the world is grace-impregnated. There is so much good for which to be thankful, and the psalms of thanks give us a voice turned to God in gratitude. I resonate deeply with Andrew Peterson's "Don't You Want to Thank Someone?":

Can't you feel it in your bones
Something isn't right here
Something that you've always known
But you don't know why
'Cause every time the sun goes down
We face another night here
Waiting for the world to spin around
Just to survive
But when you see the morning sun
Burning through a silver mist
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this?

Don't you ever wonder why
In spite of all that's wrong here
There's still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?
'Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down
And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother's kiss
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this?

So today, and every day, thank the Great Someone for the very common grace in your life, in all its wonderful expressions.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Take a moment and listen to Andrew Peterson's Don't You Want to Thank Someone, and then DO IT!!!

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