The Habit of Gratitude
from Moody Publishing
Right now, in God’s presence, the heavenly hosts are giving thanks to God. Think about that. As we give thanks, we join the chorus of God’s creatures singing to Him. Revelation pulls back the curtain between our world and God’s throne so we can glimpse this glorious spectacle. The angels, the beasts (which conjure images of the noble animals in C. S. Lewis’s world of Narnia), and the twenty-four elders offer God praise and thanksgiving.
Our earthly gratitude as God’s people joins us with God’s angels in heaven, and together, we give thanks to the One worthy of all our worship.
All this is happening at this very moment. And all this will happen for eternity when the heavens come down and God dwells with us on a New Earth. Isaiah tells us on that day, we will feast like we’ve never feasted before. The most elaborate Thanksgiving Day meal can’t compare to the spread before us and the fellowship around us and the joy in us on that day. Such a feast will be full of gratitude, rejoicing, and worship. We look forward to this day when “happily ever after” moves from a faint hope we dream of to the eternal reality we live in.
John of Revelation helps us understand that thanksgiving is not a temporary spiritual discipline. Gratitude doesn’t sprinkle in a little positivity in our otherwise painful lives in this fallen world. Thanksgiving will be at the heart of everything we do for eternity.
If you are a Christian, then this snapshot into the future has you in it. You are part of this people. Somewhere in the vast multitude of resurrected people John sees you. And thanksgiving pours out in praises to the King. Gratitude will grip your heart and thanksgiving will leap from your tongue forever.
We give thanks now because we will give thanks for eternity. Practicing thanksgiving in the present prepares us for the never-ending concert of praise to come. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will celebrate together our redemption in Jesus.
Thanksgiving is our future vocation. We will finally enjoy all things and receive all things as God’s gifts. Rather than abusing them or turning them into idols, they will be blessings pointing us back to God. Whether it’s falling before His throne, or roaming the New Earth, everything will lead to God-centered gratitude.
I hope this vision of thanksgiving in God’s presence right now, and the thanksgiving that will take place in God’s presence in the age to come, can spur us on to thanksgiving in the here-and-now. Though we do not yet see Him like we will one day, we still know Him. Through the eyes of faith, we see His goodness, provision, faithfulness, care, and love toward us as His children. We’ve tasted His mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
The best training for our future is cultivating thanksgiving today. We prepare for eternity by giving thanks now.