The Bible is my favorite book. I love to read it and hear it read. It is filled with compelling stories. One in particular is about a man who had been born with a disability and was unable to walk. Friends would carry him from home to the entrance of a local religious temple where he would spend the day begging. In a single moment though, his whole life changed when he met two men walking into the temple. He asked them for money, like everyone else. But these two, Peter and John, responded differently. Peter stared deep into the eyes of this beggar, seemingly looking right through him, then boldly spoke, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’” (Acts 3:6) And so he did! For the first time he stood up on his own power. He was so excited he not only walked but jumped, hopped, skipped and ran all over the place.
That story has impacted millions of lives. Notice the part which described his reaction. He was “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8). In a word the man was “thankful.” More like two words, “extremely thankful.”
Notice how he acknowledged the true source of his miraculous healing. Was it the two men, Peter and John? No. It does not seem as if he was much of a religious man, but he knew enough to realize God was behind it all.
It is normal to thank a person who does something nice for us, because we can see them. But do we ever pause to honor the one who is truly behind it all? We may attribute the positive report of cancer going into remission to early detection and excellent treatment. We may consider it good timing that the 12-point buck finished crossing the road just as we zoomed by. But our conscience knew there was the unseen, humble presence of a divine being behind it all. Our conscience knew it was God’s kindness.
What happens when we sing the praises of medicine, technology, skill, education, determination, or good karma, instead of acknowledging the invisible hand of Almighty God? When we give thanks to another source and dismiss our Creator it has a very real effect.
It is plain to all who God is, because He has revealed Himself to everyone. And because of that, people are without excuse. As a result, not honoring Him has a negative impact. When a person forgets God, the Scriptures say they become “futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts [become] darkened” (Romans 1:21).
A refusal to see and praise the King of the Universe is dangerous. It adversely effects our lives in practical ways. Thanksgiving toward God is not about an American holiday. It is necessary for the sake of our eternal soul. Jesus came from heaven to earth, died and rose again to reveal His Father to the world, that all might know and worship Him. If you do not praise Him now, then on judgment day you will be forced to. You know it is the right thing to do. Praise Him today! See Jesus in laughter and in sorrow. See Him in the gains and losses. See Him in the times of peace and chaos.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, I pray you will open our eyes to see your invisible hand in our lives. Let us see we are mere mortals at your mercy. Humble us. For we are not as wise and able as we think. We turn from our independent and selfish ways. Forgive us. Cleanse us by the work of Jesus on His cross. Draw us close that we might know you afresh and anew this hour. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. If God used one of Clint’s columns to impact your life, share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.