it's not just about gratitude :: being thankful

I asked the hubby to share a few words with us on being thankful…

I was recently in Haiti on a mission trip with The Bayou.  During a long drive to a church in the mountains, one of our translators asked us to explain what our Thanksgiving holiday is all about and how it started.  I told the story of the pilgrims, their harsh experience in the new land and the Native Americans that helped them.  I shared how the first meal was a celebration giving thanks to God for providing.  Our translator’s body language told me this was all new to him.  When I finished, he said, “Ok…then what I was told was wrong.”

Now I had to know what his version of the story was!  He said, “We have been taught that the first Thanksgiving happened in New York city during a great famine.  That one morning after people finally prayed and asked God for help…parents came out and found food filling the streets to feed their children.”

What?!?! Where does this stuff come from?!

As I have told that story to others and laughed at how far off people in other countries are from understanding each other’s customs, I’ve wondered if God feels the same way about us.  Do we really understand Him?  Take the word “thanksgiving” for example.  I think that we have a different understanding of this word than God does.  We simply think of expressing gratitude.  But did you know that the Hebrew word, towdah, is the same word for “thanksgiving” and “confession”?

The reason we do not connect thanksgiving with confession is that we don’t understand God’s perspective of either idea.  In the bible, confession is simply expressing agreement with God. Confessing that we were wrong…that we have sinned…and we agree with God’s view of our actions or heart is what we most often think of.  When you confess your sin to God or another, you are expressing agreement with God. Likewise when we express thanksgiving…we are still agreeing with God.  We are saying, “Yes, God…I agree all this came from you!”

So why don’t we translate towdah as “agree” instead of “thanksgiving” and “confession”?  Well…it’s because it also has an element of praise in it’s meaning.  The Hebrews used this same word for in reference to giving thanks, confessing and praising God. So…towdah means to agree with God as an act of worship.

Here are a few things to think about as you celebrate Thanksgiving this year…

  1. You can’t give thanks without confession agreement to God.
  2. You can’t confess sin without being thankful for God’s goodness and holiness.
  3. Both should be viewed as an act of worship.

I pray that you and your family will have a lot of opportunities to towdah this year!