“Thank you Lord for the rhubarb crumble and for the custard,” prayed the grateful pastor, as he beheld the dessert set before him. He didn’t usually say grace for pudding as well as before the main course. Today, however, he was moved to thank the Lord for the custard.
His relationship over the years with custard had waxed and waned. He was never too fussy about cold custard, though that was okay if it was safely tucked away in a trifle. His mum’s – hot – custard was always top class, but then there was school custard. The stuff he got at school brought about a wariness towards custard. In fact, it brought about a deep distrust of institutional custard.
But all the bad memories were washed away by the vision of the thick yellow stuff that topped his crumble like snow topping a Swiss mountain and the words of Ephesians 5.20 rang in his ears:
“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thankfulness. Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Just do a quick search and you will find it all over the Bible.
It’s simple. It’s the obvious thing for people who have experienced grace to do. But it is so easy to forget to do it.
We forget how blessed we are
Perhaps one of the best known Bible stories that illustrates the point is the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17.11-17). Ten were healed, but only one returned to give thanks to Jesus.
Somehow we very quickly lose sight of our blessings. We begin to take for granted that everything we have, every blessing, is a blessing from God:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1.17).
We focus on what we haven’t got rather than being thankful for what God has given us
It is a great temptation when we are going through a time of difficulty or restricted circumstances to become preoccupied with what we haven’t got rather than to remain thankful for all that God has given us.
Paul said that he had learned to be content whether times were hard or times were good:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4.12-13)
We lose sight of God’s faithfulness and His promises
We need to remind ourselves that God is faithful. His love does endure forever. When we focus on His faithfulness, thanksgiving begins to flow once again:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.” (Psalms 107.1)
We allow the world to frame our values rather than God’s Word
In a materialistic age it is easy for even the most devoted believer to fall into the trap of thinking that having things matters much more than it really does. We live in an era which has reversed Jesus’ words “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12.15)
What we forget is, that we can have loads of “stuff” but still be very unhappy. Proverbs 17.1 says “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”
Listen to Paul’s words once again: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And everything includes custard.