Word of the Month

Give thanks to the Lord!

August 2005

It is befitting for us to continually thank God, our heavenly Father, because "of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1: 16). In the 107th psalm it says: "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." What should we thank Him for?

First and foremost, we should give thanks for our election from eternity! This is and remains a mystery, but is nevertheless a divine reality. God wants to save all mankind so that all may come to the knowledge of the truth. He has chosen a people who will serve as a blessing to all nations, so that the gospel can be proclaimed here on earth and in the realms of the departed today, as well as after the return of Christ, during the kingdom of peace. That is the miracle of our election! We have made this election sure and have become children of God. So we also have reason to give thanks for our childhood in God - the most beautiful gift a human being could ever receive.

No greater grace could have ever been bestowed upon us than to have been converted from children of man into children of God—and thus heirs of glory! Let us give thanks for God's love, which has drawn us to Him, led us into His house, and which seeks to bring us to the goal of our faith. Let us give thanks for the Spirit-inspired word, the forgiveness of all our debts and sins, and the fellowship we can share with Jesus Christ through Holy Communion. Only when we grasp God's word and accept the grace wrought by Christ's sacrifice can we be made free and so be led to complete redemption.

It is also important that we thank the Lord for the angel service that preserves us from harm, and for the comfort we receive in times of distress and heartache. Likewise let us give thanks for the peace of the Risen One in this restless time, as well as for blessing, and the fact that we have been able to keep faith. We are also thankful however, for God's assurance that "while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8: 22). This law is valid to this very day, assuring us of life in the earthly sense.

Even if we have to live through certain things that distress us - like pain of the body or soul, injustice, concern over our daily bread, trials, and temptations - we should still give thanks, namely for the strength we have been granted in order to carry our burdens and withstand temptation. In his letter to the Ephesians, Apostle Paul admonishes to "[give] thanks always for all things to God the Father" (Ephesians 5: 20). Let us follow his advice, because God's kindness to those who do His will and love Him will last forever. They will receive the reward for their loyalty and wear the crown of eternal life!

(From a divine service by Chief Apostle Fehr)