Thanks Isn’t an Intransitive Verb



It’s easy to give thanks at Thanksgiving.

We’re embraced by family, surrounded by comfort, and encircled by food. It’s a lazy day, sitting around watching Macy’s Parade, playing some games, and helping in the kitchen a little. Even while we eat we still go slowly, spreading all the wonderful goodness out as long as we can. We have plenty of time as we finish ‘filling up the corners’ to consider the blessing we have.

But then the long weekend ends, and it’s Monday again, and there is work and finals and shopping and applications and cleaning and studying and — And we forget. We let thankfulness fall by the wayside.  We get so caught up in life, that we forget that life is a gift. We become so entangled in caring for the stuff, that we forget that the stuff was given. And when we forget the blessings, we also forget the Blesser. And we cannot allow that.

Because thanks isn’t an intransitive verb. It can’t just stand alone. “Jane thanks.” Thanks who? It makes no sense. Thankfulness always has to be directed toward someone.

And we forget that. Our culture has navigated around it with some verbal gymnastics, so that the sentence “Jane gives thanks” seems acceptable and complete. But it shouldn’t. Gifts always have a giver. Benefits always have a benefactor behind them. You don’t receive a new bow-tie from Nothing. The Void doesn’t use wrapping paper and bright bows. Even the smallest word-gifts, compliments, must come from a person.

All our good, all our blessing, comes from God. Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

And so as believers we are to give thanks always for all thanks unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And of course, we should thank God for our families, our comforts, and (especially) our food. Every delicate flower, every warm blanket and hot chocolate snuggling into the couch, every still puddle, every burst of delighted laughter from a toddler running about the house — all are great blessing poured out in an ever rushing tide upon us. But in our appreciation for the material things, let us neither lose our thankfulness for the greater gifts He has given us.

At least 11 times in the Psalms, we are told to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. And how very good He is. He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57), He has given us His unspeakable gift (2 Cor 9:15), He hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, delivering us from the power of darkness, and moved us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:12,13). Crowns, victory, and inheritance. Peace, righteousness, and redemption. Eternal life, the Holy Spirit, and grace. All these, now ours, because of Him.

He has made us to triumph, brothers and sisters. He has made us His beloved sons. He has given us eternal life; He is become our wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Who are we — how could we not — what words would be enough to give Him His praise, to give Him His thanks?

So my prayer this Thanksgiving, is that you delight in the gifts of your Father. What father is he who doesn’t want his children to enjoy and play with his gifts? So laugh with your family, dance about to that Christmas music (you know you’ve already started it), and enjoy that extra slice of pumpkin pie. And be thankful for His gifts in the here and now, all throughout the year. But please don’t ever forget His much more precious gifts poured out upon us. And never forget to give your thanks to Him.


So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

  • Cold weather and nice boots
  • Friends, near and far, to laugh and talk together with
  • The giant grin of a toddler, finally home, who insists on walking hand-in-hand with me up and down the same hallway 20 times
  • Cool-whip, preferably sprayed straight out of the can into my mouth (just being honest here)
  • God’s guiding and grace in all of life

And most importantly, that He is good, and that His mercy endures forever.


What are you thankful for this year?


(Yes ladies and gentlemen, we are finally home! Thank you so much for all the encouragements and prayers, our family is doing so well, and I’ll soon post my updates on our whole journey to China! Have a very blessed Thanksgiving!)



2 thoughts on “Thanks Isn’t an Intransitive Verb

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome back! The Lord is so good to us, is He not? I’m currently thanking God for the blessing of having a family who loves the Lord with everything in them. Not many people can say they’ve grown up in a Christian household.

    I’m also thankful that I can drink *cough* er, enjoy Cool-whip straight out of the can.

    Liked by 2 people

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