Significantly, in the call to true worship in Romans 12, Paul calls believers to reverse the false worship described in Romans 1. Instead of worshipping ‘created things rather than the Creator’ (Rom. 1:25), Paul calls us to be involved in ‘spiritual worship’ (12:1). Instead of degrading our ‘bodies’ (1:24), we are called to offer our ‘bodies’ to God (12:1). Instead of ‘sexual impurity’ (1:24), we are called to offer the sacrifice that is ‘holy’ (12:1). Once given over to a ‘depraved mind’ (1:28), the ‘mind’ will now be renewed (12:2). Once being ‘filled with every kind of wickedness’ (1:29), we are called not to ‘conform any longer to the pattern of this world’ (12:2). If Romans 1 describes the ingratitude (cf. 1:21) that characterizes those who refuse to worship Him, Romans 12 calls us to offer all of ourselves ‘as living sacrifices’ (12:1) to Him who deserves all praise and thanksgiving.
—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 102
Thanksgiving is often thought of as simply one form of prayer. Yet it underlies every form. Praise is always a thankful response for God’s grace. Confession gratefully presumes God’s acceptance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Intercession asks for others what one has thankfully received for oneself. Petitionary prayer is but a grateful response to God’s mercies in the past. (Psalm 75:1; 92:1; 105:1-5; 106:1-2; 107:1-9; 136; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:16-17)
Thanksgiving is at the heart of Christian worship. All we do in worship is essentially give thanks to God for our creation and re-creation in Jesus Christ.
SEVEN ASPECTS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
1. Remembrance: The Lord’s Supper as a Memorial (1 Corinthians 11:24-26)
2. Communion: The Lord’s Supper as Fellowship with Christ and with One Another (1 Corinthians 10:14-17; 11:27-34)
3. Forgiveness: The Lord’s Supper as a Table of Mercy (Matthew 26:26-28)
4. Covenant: The Lord’s Supper as a Renewal of Baptismal Vows (Mark 14:22-25)
5. Nourishment: The Lord’s Supper as Bread from Heaven (John 6:35-58)
6. Anticipation: The Lord’s Supper as a Declaration of Hope (Luke 22:14-27)
7. Eucharist: The Lord’s Supper as a Joyous Thanksgiving Celebration (Acts 2:46-47)
—Gordon T. Smith, A Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church
O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
—William Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 2
Gratitude is the heart’s memory.
Thou hast given to me so much . . . Give one thing more—a grateful heart.
—George Herbert (1593-1633)
In everything give thanks.
—1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as especial favours. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God.
—Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one;
Count your blessings,
See what God has done.
—J. Oatman, Jr.
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.
—Cicero in ORATIO PRO CNAEO PLANCIO, XXXIII
Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
—Henry Ward Beecher
The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful and cheerful heart.
—Plutarch, c. 100 A.D.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
Thanksgiving in Paul is an act of worship. It is not focused primarily on the benefits received or the blessed condition of a person; instead, God is the centre of thanksgiving.
—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 28-29