Why Thank God?

November 25th, 2006 • Category: Thanksgiving
by Theresa Benson

Today’s scripture: 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Theresa Benson):

I wish I could say I don’t struggle with making time to be grateful to God for all the good things I have. But in the last few months, as I’ve reflected on my spiritual journey and my relationship with God, I have realized I’m more apt to whisper “Whew, thank you God” after I make a green light when I’m running late than I am to spend time in prayer sincerely thanking the Creator for all the amazing gifts I’ve been given.

As I reflect on where I’ve come from and where I’m headed, I have struggled with an attitude of gratitude to God. There’s a part of me that still stubbornly asserts that I am the one who has worked hard to get where I am in my career, I am the one who has pulled up roots four times to move with my job and make new connections, I am the one who had to overcome a difficult childhood, I did it, me me me.

But is that really true? Did I really accomplish these things in a vacuum?

We’ve spent a lot of time in the past weeks talking about our concepts of God. In examining my own God-concept, I realize I have assigned a number of personality traits from adults in my childhood, to God — even though the traits have no basis in the Bible or in my actual experience with God.

There were dysfunctional, emotionally hurting adults, not God, in my childhood who needed my constant praise and gratitude in order to feel validated. When I would succeed in school or extra curricular activities, it was these same adults who took credit for my hard work and achievement, and only then gave me the love and affection I desperately longed for. And if I didn’t achieve, wasn’t the best, or should I forget to be grateful, in those painful moments, the things I held dear, including the illusion of a safe and loving home, would be stripped away.

It’s no wonder that as an adult, I struggle with an attitude of gratitude. Based on my experiences in childhood and adolescence, I’m afraid of God — if I’m not grateful enough, He’ll put me “in check” by taking away the things I hold dear to “teach me a lesson”. On the other hand, I’m resentful that I have to say “thank you” for the things I feel I worked hard to accomplish, because I don’t want God to “take the credit”.

So why thank God?

Not because God needs it — God isn’t self-centered. God doesn’t withdraw love, kindness, and eternal abundance until we’ve given enough flattery and praise. God is good all the time. In opening our hearts to an attitude of gratitude, and giving God thanks and praise, we open our souls so God can come in and experience this goodness with us, in the same way God came in to the Temple that day to be with His people.

Thought for the day: Today, I’ll open my soul a little more to God by being grateful.

Today, let’s join together in prayer, asking God, “What do You think of the week we’ve just completed? What are You pleased with? What could I have done better?” Then spend some time listening.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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