Each day through the month of November several of my Facebook friends have posted what they are thankful for in their lives. This is a wonderful exercise for people to do because it forces them to stop and consider the good things that are part of their lives. Most of us have multiple reasons to be thankful.

As we go through life it is easy to focus on the inconvenient parts and the hardships of life. We skip over the good because we tend to believe that is the way life should be, that we deserve the best life has to offer. Thanksgiving is important because it provides us with an opportunity to consider the good parts of our lives.

It is good to be thankful for the blessings of life, but it is even better to give thanks to the Giver of those blessings. Thanksgiving isn’t just about being grateful for what we have, but it is about honoring the One who has blessed our lives in numerous ways.

This is what I want you to remember: Thanksgiving is an essential part of our worship.

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus ‘feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19; ESV).

The failure of the nine Jewish lepers is not found in their obedience. They did exactly what Jesus told them to do. What they failed to do, the thing the Samaritan leper did better, was to return and give thanks to their healer. We can go through the rituals of religion and be obedient to the commandments, but that doesn’t mean we have worshipped. Making a list of blessings that we are thankful for doesn’t mean we have given thanks. True thanksgiving happens when we pause and say thank you to the Creator for all the gifts and provisions of life. All of us can find things we are thankful for, but only a handful of us will thank God for those things.

It is good to be thankful for the good things of life, but it is better to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for those good things. My prayer for you this thanksgiving is that you will pause and thank God for the blessings of your life.

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