The Art of Thanksgiving: Biblical Ways to Express Your Thanks

Thanksgiving2012   It is nearing Thanksgiving Thursday. As most prepare turkeys and dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, and the like, it is the goal of this season to be grateful and thankful for the blessings that we have received. I have noticed on social media that many have partaken upon themselves to list something each day in November for which they are thankful. This is an excellent idea. However, may I present six additional ways that we can show our thanks this Thanksgiving season? These six ways come from the pages of the Bible.

Thanksgiving by Music

Music is a wonderful media to present thanks. In addition, it is fun regardless if you have a good voice or not. The Bible presents two ways that we can express our thanks through music.


“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

The psalmist shows the beauty in expressing one’s thanks through singing. If one is thankful, then one should be joyful. If one is joyful, it is easy for that one to break out in song. Praise God through your singing.

Playing Instruments

David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals” (1 Chronicles 25:1).

“Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:3-6).

Thanksgiving by Prayer

Paul was a man of prayer. Paul identified that we should present our thanks to God in our daily prayers to God. Paul writes to the Church of Rome, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you” (Romans 12:1).

Has there been a time in your life when you gave something to someone of great value only to have no sense of gratitude in return? It may not have been anything particularly valuable (that is, of monetary value), but it meant a lot to you (perhaps your time away from home). Do you remember the sorrow you felt when you were not thanked for doing what you did? God is sovereign indeed. Yet, I cannot help but think that the praise that the believer should give to God is thanks unto God for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. A simple “thank you” can do wonders.

Thanksgiving by Giving

One particular method of thanksgiving that is highly promoted in the Bible is that of giving. The psalmist writes,

“I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life” (Psalm 56:12-13).

Jesus takes this a step further. Jesus said, “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:37-40). When we do for others, we show our thanksgiving through our service to God.

Thanksgiving by Worship

One of the ways in which a person can express thanks is by one’s participation in worship services. The psalmist writes,

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:2-4).

 Yeah, I have heard like many of you people proclaim, “Well, I don’t have to be in church to worship God.” While this is true, two things are revealed. One, will you worship God outside of the church? Honestly, most will not. Two, if God has given us a church in which to worship, it is selfish for us to reject a place to worship God. One truly shows his/her ungratefulness by not desiring to worship in the house built to worship God. I understand that you may have been burnt in a church. However, understand that not all churches are like the one you attended. Find a good, loving, Bible-believing church and grow in the Lord with others. The writer of Hebrews states, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire'” (Hebrews 12:28).

Thanksgiving by Testimony

When Anna heard about the coming Messiah, she could not contain herself. Luke the historian writes, “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). Many times Jesus told individuals whom He healed to keep quiet about their healing…particularly in the early ministry of Jesus. But, those who had been healed could not help but tell someone about the wonders of this Messiah who had come to visit them. If we have experienced the grace of God and are filled with His presence, what is it that keeps us from telling others? This is a means of giving thanks to God…telling others about the grace and mercy of God bestowed upon us.

Thanksgiving by Holy Living

Finally, Paul shows us that we can show our appreciation and thanksgiving unto God by living a holy life. Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). When we live in a fashion that is contrary to God’s will, we do not show a thankful heart unto God. It is true that we are saved by the grace and mercy of God. However, when one lives like the Devil, it is difficult to see how one can have an angelic heart of thanks unto God.


Are you thankful for the things that God has done for you? If you are, the Bible presents many ways in which we can express our thanks to God. When we enter eternity, we may just find that there are far more things for which we should be thankful than what we first realized.

God bless and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pastor Brian Chilton


All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from The New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

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