Time Out: Going deeper than thankfulness

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

I’m sure God likes Thanksgiving. I’m sure He likes it when we sing songs of thankfulness and share what He has done for us in the past year. I’m sure He appreciates it when we recognize all the blessings we have. What parent wouldn’t be happy to have their children thank them?

But something bothers me about our thankfulness. It seems too shallow. It’s fine to recognize all the wonderful things He has given us as a nation and to appreciate the many good things He has given each of us individually. There’s nothing wrong with that. My problem is that it makes ME the one who determines what God has done that is “good.” If I like it, if it benefits me, if my life is better or easier because of it, then it is “good” and God deserves to be thanked. The rest of the stuff? Forget it!

We thank God that we live in a land of plenty, but do we thank Him that the economy has taken a down-turn? Never! That just gives us something to thank Him for next year when things are (hopefully) better economically. Do you get my point here? Who am I to pass judgment on what God does and label some of it “good” and the rest, well, just “not as good?” I am way out of bounds when I start determining what in my life is worthy of thanks and what isn’t.

Sure, I like it when my children thank me for something. but what about all I do to benefit them which they don’t like, or which they don’t even know about. Shouldn’t I be thanked for that as well? Is there really any less reason to thank me for that? And wouldn’t it be even better if, instead of thanking me for everything I do, they just thank me for being me, for loving and caring for them? Now that’s the very best for me, and I think for God as well.

So instead of just thanking Him for things He has done that we approve of, lets praise and worship Him for Who and what He is — a God who loves, cares, sacrifices, shows mercy, forgives, restores and does everything that is right for us, if we “approve” of it or not. Who would want a God who only did things to please us? A good parent does what is right and best for their child, not only what is popular. Let’s praise our Heavenly Father because He is the same way!

So enjoy Thanksgiving, give God all the thanks you can, all year round, but don’t stop there. Go deeper and praise Him for the wonderful, marvelous, loving God He is. Don’t pass judgments on all His actions, praise Him because you know He does everything for our growth and His glory.

Ephesians 5:19-20, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


  • How would you rate your attitude of gratitude? Do you sometimes presume on God or do you take credit for things He does?
  • Do you usually remember to thank Him for all you have in your life? Do so now.
  • Spend time now in praise and worship to God for Who and what He is.


Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on November 23, 2008

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