Thanksgiving is a Verb
If there’s one thing I have developed a new appreciation for in the last year, it is the difference between feelings and actions. Gratitude is a feeling. Thanksgiving is an action.
With what is arguably my favorite holiday of the year fast approaching, it is only natural to spend time contemplating what I am thankful for. The Lord is good always and, in every season, His blessings abound. He provides faithfully and brings so many beautiful “extras” into my life. Family members who anchor me in the craziness of life, friends who share my dreams and drag me along on new adventures, and co-workers who are truly brothers and sisters in Christ (ones I can laugh and cry with) are treasured daily. Living in a nation where I can enjoy the immense blessings of liberty, freely worship and serve my God, and participate in the amazing American experiment of self-government are also things I pray I never take for granted. Countless other things yield feelings of deep gratitude in my life. There are wonderful moments when I can pause and let my heart reflect on the many good things the Lord placed in my life. I can even stop and contemplate His goodness—the fundamental essence of who He shows Himself to be in my life—and be grateful that the Risen King desires to have a relationship with me. This year, I have found myself held entirely in His love in ways that I could never imagine before. In that perfect love, I continue to learn and grow.
1st John 4:18-19 informs us that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.” In His perfect love, I continue to discover freedom, confidence, and love for others that is entirely beyond myself. These are blessings to contemplate with a grateful heart, to be sure. But what if all the Biblical instruction to give thanks call for more than just deep appreciation for all that the Lord has done? What if thanksgiving is a verb?
In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, obey my commands.” The action of giving thanks, of serving God with courageous obedience, starts with living out the command to love the Lord and then love others like He does. This Thanksgiving, with more than just a feeling of gratitude, I pray that the Lord will help me to grow in actively loving and serving with a freedom that glorifies Him above all else.
Katie Schmidt is the Director of Communications at SSI. She is fascinated by how biblical presuppositions inform history, philosophy, and critical advocacy and enjoys engaging with her community and church, learning news things, and dabbling in creative pursuits.
Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the position of the Student Statesmanship Institute. SSI is a non-profit educational organization and provides this blog as a platform for those who have been involved in our program to engage and share thoughts related to current events, issues of the day, and personal experiences, but does not necessarily endorse the content therein.