Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my [impenetrable] shield; My heart trusts [with unwavering confidence] in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him.
Flashback to summer 2018, I started working as a preschool teacher with the most vibrant and fiery group of toddlers I’ve ever met. It was my first job after graduating college and I was definitely looking forward to becoming the best teacher ever! Apart from teaching the kids the days of the week or the months and seasons of the year, the head teacher insisted on making it a priority to teach the kids manners. Obviously I could see why that would be an important lesson among others. However, when it came to manners, she would literally stop the entire class for a learning moment to emphasize the importance of a please and thank you.
One evening while supervising a small group of two year olds, one of the other teachers brought in some snacks to share with the kids. They all gathered around the table as she gave each child a cookie and some chips but no one said thank you at first, until she gave the last child his cookie and chips. Finally, someone said thank you and then of course they all chimed in saying “Thank You Miss Lisa” except for one. Since he was known for being defiant and rebellious, initially I didn’t want to force him to say thank you so I asked him, “Aren’t you going to tell Miss Lisa thank you?” He looked at me while nibbling on his cookie and asked “Why?” Keep in mind, this was still during my first month working there and this was a child who didn’t really know me that well either. Apparently he felt comfortable enough to question me, staring right back at me with his big blue eyes.
To be honest with you, that caught me a little off guard so I asked the other kids “Why do we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you?’” They all looked at me puzzled, one kid eventually said “because Miss Gina said so!” I interrupted him by trying to explain that we say ‘thank you’ to show gratitude but then I thought to myself, they’re two, maybe I should make it simpler. I explained to them that Miss Lisa didn’t have to share her snacks and we should be grateful that she thought of us and wanted to share with us. I also asked about how they felt when they randomly got cookies and chips late in the evening, which was quite unusual for their after school routine. One kid said “Happy” another said “Excited” and Henry, staring at me with his big blue eyes said that he felt like singing and dancing!
Have you ever really took into consideration all that God does for us and the role He plays in our lives? Have you ever thought about why we should glorify God, give thanks and sing praises to His name? Of course it’s easy to give thanks when God shows up in our time of need and obviously we’d want to sing and dance like Henry did when God blesses us with our hearts desires. Although, understanding the ultimate reason why we should give thanks to God would definitely strengthen our relationship with Him and give purpose to living a life that glorifies His name. We shouldn’t just give thanks to God because the pastor said so or Mom said so or because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to do. Here in Psalm 28:7, David explains that God gives His people strength, protection and help to persevere and that we can all trust that God will always be there for us. I’m certainly guilty of forgetting why and when we should give thanks to God. In the past, I used to only give thanks to God when I’d see His work materialize in my life. But is that truly honoring Him and thanking Him for who He is? Or am I only being thankful because I know what He can do for me? Isn’t it interesting that this scripture says “The Lord IS my strength and my shield” instead of ‘gives me strength’ and ‘gives me a shield?’ As my relationship with God grows, I pray that I learn to appreciate Him more and more and thank Him fervently everyday just because of who He is. That, to me, is the real reason why we should give thanks.