Thankful FOR or Thankful TO?
With this being the week that we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.S., we would be remiss if we failed to address the subject of thankfulness.
In considering the topic, I begin with the basics: an accepted definition of the word thank. Dictionary.com gives this definition: to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment to. Something in this definition jumped out at me. The final word is to, which means that the act of thanking demands that someone receive the thanks that we give. If we say “thank you,” we must be thanking someone, not just expressing a generic feeling of happiness at our circumstances. Unfortunately, most people who say they are thankful for something are simply expressing happiness or satisfaction that they have a certain thing or person in their lives, but they are not actually thanking anyone for it.
You see, being thankful means that we must acknowledge someone else for their role in what we have. It means we are showing that person our gratitude and appreciation. When we give thanks, there must be someone to receive the thanks we give. I have often wondered at the people who say they do not believe in God, yet claim that they are thankful people or who choose to celebrate Thanksgiving. In reality, they are not actually giving thanks, but they are merely celebrating what they have in their lives, because they will not acknowledge the One who has given them every good thing they have (James 1:17). They do not see the emptiness of such an existence, but I do, and I am saddened for them.
So, this Thanksgiving, let us not just be thankful for what we have, but let’s be thankful TO the Lord who has given us all things to enjoy. Being thankful for the things He has provided is good, but we must always acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Source of everything we are grateful for.
But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57 (Amplified Bible Classic Edition, AMPC)