“…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21

We are a week away from Thanksgiving. For some time now Thanksgiving has been perhaps my favorite Holiday. The reason for this is because of its purpose. We set aside an entire day for the purpose of being thankful. I saw a sign on a church marquee this last week that I thought was truly great. “Thanksgiving is not just a day, it is a lifestyle.” If there is one thing that should exemplify the life of a Christian it is an attitude of thankfulness.

How important is thankfulness? Well in Romans 1 the Apostle Paul gives one of his more well known discourses on the problem that man faces. In Romans 1 we see this large list of sins that are evidence of man’s hostility toward God. The entire last section of the Chapter is a listing of the many evils and wicked acts that men do which further drive them away from the glory of God. The amazing thing about this though is what the cause of this alienation is.
Romans 1 tells us plainly that all men everywhere know who God is and what His invisible attributes are, and yet man in his pride refuses to honor and glorify God and almost in passing Paul tells us that they refuse to give him thanks. The great cause of sin and wickedness in the world is a lack of thankfulness. Everything we are and everything we have is a direct result of the benevolence and kindness of God, and yet the natural tendency of man is to want to glory in ourselves, and in doing this we alienate ourselves from God.

Paul tells us that this lack of acknowledgement of God and this refusal to give thanks causes man to grow futile in all his thoughts. A life that does not revolve around thankfulness to God is a life of futility. Today there are so many ideas that are considered wise in the eyes of the world that the Scripture clearly calls futility. The primary reason for this is that man is in general a most un-thankful creature.

The result of this un-thankfulness is a mind that continues in hostility with God. The way Paul discusses it in this passage is by telling us that their foolish hearts are darkened. Futility of thought is sadly far to prevalent. Men profess themselves wise, and all the while they are fools. Ultimately this delusion comes back to man’s lack of thankfulness.

So this coming Thursday when the Turkey is being carved and the family is gathered around the table make sure that your thankfulness is not merely an event for that day alone. Resolve to have a heart of thankfulness in everything you do. A thankful heart is a heart that acknowledges God and all that God has done, and it is also the heart that recognizes that God is in control and He will lead us exactly where we need to be.

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Michael Denna is a reformed pastor and expert on American Dispensationalism. Mike and his wife Michelle lived in California's Sacramento Valley for 24 years and they have recently moved to Grand Junction Colorado where Mike is now the Pastor at Providence Reformed Church.

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