“Thank God!” Have you ever spontaneously said that? Probably most of us have. The question is, did you mean it?

One night on a narrow winding road up a mountain, driving a school bus full of kids to the ski resort, I met a coach bus coming down the mountain. Just as we met, there was a dent in the snow bank that allowed me to squeeze over and give the tour bus some room to pass. I spontaneously cried aloud, “Thank you, Jesus.” I meant it. I knew that God had put that wide spot there for me at that moment.

I have wondered many times what or whom people give thanks to on Thanksgiving day, when they don’t believe in God. I guess it would be a good way to identify what their god is.

If you think you are the master of your destiny, you probably thank and worship yourself. If you think that the world has been kind to you, you may worship the world or karma or some other force that brings good to you.

Maybe you thank your work for providing the money you have. Maybe you thank the government for all the benefits they provide. Be careful who you give credit to, as it may be an idol to you or a false god.

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God uses many of these to provide for our needs, but God wants to be recognized as the source of all things. God is love, He is full of grace and mercy, and every good gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17).

God said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:2-7).

Thanksgiving is a time to thank the real, true, one and only God. We, here in our community and in our country, have so much to thank God for. Even our hardships are flavored with people who love us and many who are there to help us.

If you don’t know God, you can. If you don’t trust God, you can. If you don’t thank God, you can. The choice is yours. Every day is a day to say, “Thank God!”

Rev. Paul McKibben is pastor of Grace Community Church in Osage