“Oh give thanks to the Lord,  for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.”  1 Chronicles 16:34

“And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks….”  Mark 8:6

Giving thanks.  Two disparately different situations, yet leading to the same action, to the same One. These two examples are at the heart of giving thanks.

David has been crowned king.  Many years have led up to this point, it started when David was anointed king by the prophet Samuel.  But there would be a long time in between that anointing and David being placed on the throne.  During that in between time would come the confrontation with Goliath, becoming Saul’s favorite, having Saul become jealous of David and trying to kill him and David’s time fleeing Saul in the wilderness.  So now Saul is gone, the people of Israel have all agreed and David is triumphantly installed as ruler of all Israel.  David’s heart is filled with the Spirit of God and yearns to do what God desires.  This is shown by one of his first acts as king.  David brings that ark of the covenant to its rightful place, Jerusalem.  David is so ecstatic to bring the ark home that he dances and leaps for joy as it is being brought into the city.  When it is placed in the place of worship, the tabernacle, David breaks into a long song of thanksgiving.  He cries out to all the people to give thanks to the Lord.  David is triumphant.  David had conquered.  David was rich in material wealth, in many houses, in many wifes and children.  In his triumphant, blessed state, David turns naturally to thanking Him from which his blessings have come, the Lord.

Jesus, has not been crowned king.  He appears to be a preacher.  A very talented, gifted preacher both in word and, with the miracles He performs, in deed as well.  Yet Jesus is rejected by the authorities and most of the people He has come to serve and save.  He does not live in a palace nor have material wealth.  He travels and often stays outside the main cities.  People don’t flock to see him in the high places of the temple or tabernacles.  No Jesus often preaches, teaches and heals right where the people are; in fields, on the side of hills, in the poor sections of town.  Now He finds Himself in a very daunting situation.  He has been preaching to over 4000 people and they’ve been intently listening.  But the hour has become late and there is no place close by for this large a number of people to go to eat.  Some might become ill, might pass out if they are not given something to eat before they start their journey back home.  Jesus resources are very meek, very humble.  He has only 12 disciples to try and help to serve the crowd.  Worse yet, the food he has to work with is devastatingly meager; seven loaves of bread.  His disciples wonder incredulously what is seven loaves of bread to do when there is so much need.  Jesus doesn’t hesitate.  His portion may seem humble, may seem woefully inadequate for such a great need; but Jesus is thankful for what He has.  The first thing He does is to give thanks for those seven loaves.

Seemingly two people at opposite ends of the spectrum.  One is rich, worldly powerful, one who has made it; yet David completely understands where his abundance, his power, his blessings come from.  One of David’s first acts and an act he will repeat over and over again, is to give thanks.  He does not believe that he has earned the right to be king, but it is the Lord’s mercy that has led him there.  Jesus is in very humble surroundings.  His situation seems dire.  We know that He is the Son of God come to earth.  He could have stood up and proclaimed in His own power what a great miracle He was about to perform.  But Jesus doesn’t do that.  No, the first thing that Jesus does is to give thanks.  To give thanks for the seven loaves and what they are about to do.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, you and I may find ourselves in a place of great triumphant or a place of great humility.  We may have all our needs and most of our desires met or we may be at a place where we can not even contemplate how the most simplest of our basic needs will be met.  One situation seems to be easy to give thanks for and the other one seems as if there is not one thing for which one could find a reason for thanks.  What is paradoxical in this world of ours in how seldom we find the materially wealthy person give thanks to the Lord and how often the poor will give thanks.

What seems clear is that giving thanks is the behavior which unleashes such great power and mercy from our Heavenly Father.  For those who are well off, giving thanks helps keep them grounded.  It proclaims a humble thought that the blessings and wealth are not a reward for outstanding intelligence, talent, drive or even righteousness.  It is an acknowledgement that Our Heavenly Father has seen fit to bless us, even in our lowly state, His mercy is being poured out upon us.  Likewise, for the person in the humble, downtrodden, desperate state, giving thanks to the Lord is a triumphantly proclamation that the Lord is on His throne.  It states an understanding that all things are possible to those who believe and call upon the Lord.  It is a confident testimony that the Lord hears our prayers, supplications and thanksgiving and will lift us up from whatever trial we may find ourselves in.  His mercy endures forever.

So in whatever, whenever and wherever state we may find ourselves in today, give thanks.  Give thanks knowing that Our Heavenly Father knows us, He loves us, He has not, is not now, nor ever will forsake us and leave us alone.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we give You thanks dear Father with all our heart, mind and soul.  Thanksgiving is a response and we declare we have such abundance from you to rightly give thanks for.  Even if we are in a worldly state of poverty, we are rich in Your Love, Your Mercy, Your willingness to provide for us in any state.  No matter our state in this world, let us never forget to constantly give thanks to You.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen