I bought my grandson his first baseball, bat, and glove today, and he muttered a necessary “Thanks.” So, I stopped him and said, “Look me in the eyes; put a smile on your face and say, ‘Thanks, Pops! This is great!’ ” After a few tries, he finally got it. Even when children know they should say “thank you,” we still have to teach them how to express their thanks effectively. Something like this is true for God’s children as well, no matter what age we may be. Psalm 34:1–10 is a well-known example of thanksgiving that God’s people have recited and imitated for millennia.
Attitude of Thanksgiving
Take a look at the attitude of someone who is thankful in verses 1–3 of Psalm 34. Something had happened in David’s life that he simply could not stop talking about. He was so excited that he also wanted others to join with him in exalting the name of God.
It isn’t hard to see the attitude behind these words. How do we normally react when wonderful things happen in our lives? Do parents of a newborn child simply keep their joy to themselves? Of course not. They talk and talk.
The same sort of thing is true of followers of Christ who have a thankful attitude toward God. We pay attention to good things that Jesus has done for us and we become so enthusiastic that we cannot be silent.
Words of Thanksgiving
Psalm 34:4–7 goes on to give us a fascinating way of putting a thankful attitude into words. It tells us that one of the best ways to say “thank you” to God is to tell the story of what he has done. Unlike other psalms, David’s story in Psalm 34 amounts to only a few snippets. God had answered his prayer and delivered him. He had cried out and God had saved him from his troubles. But as brief as David may be here, the point is not lost: if you want to say “thank you” to God, come before Him in the presence of family and friends and tell the stories of what He has done.
I have a friend who took his extended family on a long, expensive trip. And all along the way, no one stopped to thank him. “But a few weeks later,” he told me, “we sat down with photos from the trip. And the kids told stories after stories of what had happened.” Then my friend went on to say, “They didn’t even realize it, but every story said ‘thank you’ to me.” This is how our stories about God say “thank you” to Him.
Results of Thanksgiving
The result of David’s thanksgiving at that moment in his life was not only to honor God; it did something to him as well. In verse 10 he writes, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Wouldn’t you like to appraise your own life in this way, even in the face of terrible trials? Follow the advice of the old hymn: “Count your many blessings. Name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”