At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth… Matthew 11:25 (NKJV)
Just as a magnet will draw out that which is metallic, an earnest examination of the Gospels will draw out the characteristics of Christ that are worth imitating. The trait that emerges today is thankfulness.
Take note of how Jesus began His prayer here in Matthew 11. He leads off with that a grateful heart, “I thank You, Father.” And we see this same type of gratitude in a number of other areas:
And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples… John 6:11 (NKJV)
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. John 11:41 (NKJV)
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks…And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it… Luke 22:17-19 (NKJV)
At the feeding of the multitudes, at the tomb of Lazarus, and even in the upper room as He instituted communion, Jesus expresses a thankfulness that we can’t miss. It was a true trait, a first-response of His heart when it came to what He encountered in life. And it’s the same response we should have as well:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
Quite simply, God expects us to give thanks in everything we encounter in life. “But how can He expect that from us? What about cancer, what about divorce, what about death? How are we supposed to be thankful for things like that?”
Notice, we’re called to give thanks in everything, not for everything. There’s a huge difference between the two. By giving thanks in everything, we’re not focusing on the things themselves, but on the bigger picture and plan of our Heavenly Father to use those things for the greater good of His people (Romans 8:28).
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?