Thanksgiving sanctifies its object.
Whatever I’m giving thanks for is set apart for God’s use. When Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks, He was setting it apart for God’s use to multiply and feed the 5,000.
There are only two postures in life when it comes to thanksgiving: we can either be thankful or unthankful.
There’s not really anything in the middle. This is essential to remember when it comes to thanksgiving. Look at what Jesus did in Matthew 11:21. He was angry at the cities that had not repented.
“Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you. And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you.”
Jesus is telling them the significance of forgoing repentance. He’s angry with them for the injustice.
Anger is a reaction to a perceived injustice. Jesus is identifying that feeling first in expressing the injustice. Look at what happens next. We get down to Matthew 11:25.
Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
I want you to consider that Jesus started out being real about his feelings (no Christianese) but He ended with thanksgiving. This is what God asks us to do in everything in our lives. We may have to grieve for a while or be angry for a while, but we want to end in Thanksgiving. With the bigger losses, it will take us time to get to Thanksgiving. With the smaller things, hopefully, we can get there very quickly. Remember that thanksgiving sanctifies its object. It sets it apart for God’s use, so we want to be people of thanksgiving- getting to thanksgiving as quickly as we can, and as honestly as we can with integrity.