Why Is It Good to Be Thankful?
THE Holy Scriptures time and again encourage us to prove ourselves to be thankful persons. An appreciative spirit builds up others, promotes peace and adds to our own happiness. How different it is with thankless persons! Their many complaints and their selfish spirit give rise to discouragement and hurt feelings.
The thankful spirit that we should strive to cultivate is portrayed in Psalm 92. This psalm also reveals why cultivating an appreciative spirit is right and beneficial. We read: “It is good to give thanks to Jehovah and to make melody to your name, O Most High; to tell in the morning about your loving-kindness and about your faithfulness during the nights, upon a ten-stringed instrument and upon the lute, by resounding music on the harp. For you have made me rejoice, O Jehovah, because of your activity; because of the works of your hands I cry out joyfully.”—Ps. 92:1-4.
The very first statement of Psalm 92 presents a powerful reason for being thankful to Jehovah. It is “good,” that is, right, fitting, appropriate. The Most High deserves our gratitude, for he is our Life-Giver and has provided what is needed for sustaining life and securing our eternal happiness and welfare. Also, an appreciative spirit has a wholesome effect on us. Ingrates are never happy.
Besides expressing thankfulness when praying, we can also lift up our voice in song to the accompaniment of music. Thus we make melody to God’s name, that is, to the One represented by that name.
It is indeed appropriate to start our day with an expression of gratitude for Jehovah’s loving-kindness, his active compassionate concern. Before us is another day of life, in which we can praise our heavenly Father. When we rise in the morning with such an appreciative spirit, this can help us to use the day in bringing praise and honor to Jehovah. We will then strive to heed the Biblical admonition: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” (1 Cor. 10:31) During the wakeful periods of the night and before retiring to bed, we do well to remember Jehovah’s “faithfulness,” his trueness, his dependability as a fulfiller of his word of promise. We can thank him for the blessings of the day that confirm his being a God of faithfulness. Such an appreciative attitude at the end of the day and during the night can calm us, contributing to our enjoyment of peaceful sleep. Of course, not only the daily blessings provide an occasion for praising Jehovah God, but all of his activities or dealings with his people give reason for rejoicing. Included in God’s works, in which we should find delight, are his creative works and his saving acts.
Commenting on Jehovah’s works and thoughts, the psalmist continues: “How great your works are, O Jehovah! Very deep your thoughts are.” (Ps. 92:5) Both Jehovah’s creative works and his saving acts are great, inspiring wonderment. Because his thoughts are deep, they are not easy to comprehend. It takes more than just looking at the surface appearance of things. When it comes to the reasons for what Jehovah God does and permits, persons who are unreasoning like animals or who are morally corrupt simply cannot understand. It is as the psalmist stated: “No unreasoning man himself can know them, and no one stupid can understand this.”—Ps. 92:6; Jude 10.
While righteous persons may suffer for a time, the Almighty is working out his grand purpose to bless them. Note how this is emphasized in verses 7 to 15 of Psalm 92, where we read:
“When the wicked ones sprout as the vegetation and all the practicers of what is hurtful blossom forth, it is that they may be annihilated forever. But you are on high to time indefinite, O Jehovah. For, look! your enemies, O Jehovah, for, look! your own enemies will perish; all the practicers of what is hurtful will be separated from one another. But you will exalt my horn like that of a wild bull; I shall moisten myself with fresh oil. And my eye will look on my foes; my ears will hear about the very ones who rise up against me, the evildoers. The righteous himself will blossom forth as a palm tree does; as a cedar in Lebanon does, he will grow big. Those who are planted in the house of Jehovah, in the courtyards of our God, they will blossom forth. They will still keep on thriving during gray-headedness, fat and fresh they will continue to be, to tell that Jehovah is upright. He is my Rock, in whom there is no unrighteousness.”
Nothing escapes the notice of Jehovah God who resides in the highest heavens. The time will come when the wicked will no longer “blossom forth,” flourish or prosper, but will come to their end. Evidently the psalmist speaks for God’s servants as a whole when he says that his “horn,” his power, will be exalted by Jehovah and that he would rub himself with oil, representative of refreshment and joy. While the wicked perish, the appreciative workers of righteousness would flourish luxuriantly like palm trees and mighty cedars of Lebanon. Planted, as it were, in the house of Jehovah, they are his devoted worshipers. From him, as from the sacred soil of the sanctuary, they draw their sustenance. Even in old age they will thrive like trees that live a long time. They will, in effect, be fat and fresh, enjoying vigor and health. During their lifetime they will bear witness to Jehovah’s uprightness, his faithfulness to his word of promise. The Most High is a dependable “Rock,” a place of stability, security and protection. He is completely righteous.
May we, therefore, prove ourselves to be grateful to Jehovah. This will lead to our enjoying a happy and contented life now, with an eternal future in view.