Monday, November 21, 2011

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

I challenged my kids this afternoon. School books were closed, but their Bibles were open. We focused on the many aspects of giving thanks as presented in God’s Word: who, what, where, when, why, and how. I gave them some time to dig on their own and then we sat together sharing what we found in relative quiet as the babies slept dreamily.

We began our discussion with the what of giving thanks. We all know that it is important and commanded, but what really is it? We talked about how it involves others. It often centers on what we have. The more we talked, the more I knew how important it was to dive into God’s Word.

My little one and I searched some of the who’s in Scripture who gave thanks. We came up with a few. Anna and Simeon gave thanks that God allowed them the gift of seeing the Christ child. They had waited many years faithfully serving God. When God fulfilled his promise their immediate response was thanks. Moses exemplified thanks after God miraculously opened the Red Sea and then crashed it again on the enemies of the Israelites. In the New Testament, Luke tells the story of one lone leper among ten who thanked God for gracious healing. Finally, we saw that Paul was thankful for others who made the effort to make a difference in his life.

Angel researched the where of thanksgiving. She discovered many examples in the Old Testament two of which were the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. These were significant as they evidenced God’s work in Israel.

When are we to give thanks? My little man answered that one. Everywhere and in all things. You can’t get simpler than that. Paul’s life portrays one specific example of thanksgiving that wowed my little man. Paul chose to give thanks while in prison and in chains. We all know that story, but as we focus on how it relates to now, it makes our thanksgiving significant as we are nowhere near prison or captivity.

Princess found some great verses on the how of thanksgiving. She found that thanksgiving is not a private thing. It is often loud and done with music. It focuses on others, and involves verbally speaking thanks. It was a good reminder to all of us that we need to be conscious of speaking our thanks.

The why of thanksgiving brought us to a climax in our discussion. We found many verses that presented the love, faithfulness, and mercy of God that demands thanks. When we consider who God is, it should be an automatic response to give thanks. It may be for what he has done or given, but it also involves who he is.

My little one had a tough time grasping the concept of God demanding praise and thanks. Princess helped out by sharing the analogy of trying to fit a major league baseball stadium into our living room. You just can’t do it. God is so big. Our minds are so small. There is just no way to understand all of who God is. Our job is to be thankful in every little (and big) think that we watch him do in our life.

Thanksgiving is centered on our heavenly father the giver of all good things. Our thankful heart, however, should overflow to pour into the lives of all who are in our life.

Who is God to you today? What can you thank him for? Why is it possible to thank him? Where can you thank him this afternoon? When is a good time to express your thankful heart? How are you going to show your thanks to God? How is all of this going to show visibly to others?

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