Ceaselessly giving thanks to God
No matter what their situation in life is, Church Of Christ members will never cease to give thanks and give bountiful thank offerings to the Almighty Father for this is their solemn promise to Him.
By KENNETH A. OUANO
MEMBERS OF the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), through the biblical teachings instilled in them by the Church Administration, have grown in faith to cultivate a character trait true Christians ought to have—thankfulness. They always try to show genuine appreciation for the good things that were done or given to them, especially by those whom they hold dear. Most of all, they ceaselessly give thanks to the Almighty God with gladness and sincerity, even when times are dire and difficult, for they recognize that He is the One Who provides everything they need.
Hence, before each year comes to an end, Church Of Christ members gather in their respective houses of worship for their Thanksgiving Worship Service in honor of the Lord God. Weeks before the sacred occasion, they prepare themselves through devotional prayers. On the day of their Thanksgiving, they present to God their thank offerings, which they had prepared for the whole year in accordance with biblical instruction. This is their vow to the most kind and loving Father, and they do this out of love for Him.
Church Of Christ members listening to God's words being taught in a worship service
A special promise
True servants of God, since the days of old, have made it their covenant with Him to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving:
“Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. … He who offers a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way rightly [who follows the way that I show him], I shall show the salvation of God.” (Ps. 50:5, 23 Amplified Bible 2015)
By giving thank offerings, God’s people honor Him. It is an expression of how grateful they are to Him for saving them from death and from the enemies of their faith. That is why they treat their thanksgiving as a special promise or vow that they must keep. This is written in
“God, I made special promises to you. And I will do what I promised. I will give you my thank offering. Why? Because you saved me from death. You kept me from being defeated. So I will worship God in the light that only living people can see.” (Easy-to-Read Version)
Overflowing with thanksgiving
In the Christian era, true servants of God always give thanks to Him and to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for all that They have done. Church Of Christ members fulfill this by living in obedience to Christ’s teachings, growing and staying strong in the faith, and by continuing to uphold their covenant of giving thanks:
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.” (Col. 2:6–7 New Living Translation, emphasis ours)
As the apostles taught to the Christians in the first century, the Church Administration also teaches Church Of Christ members in these last days to always be thankful. They regard this as one of their responsibilities and privileges as members of Christ’s body:
“Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15 Living Bible)
So much to be thankful for
Some may find it hard to be grateful when life becomes too difficult. Perhaps they can’t begin to think what they should be thankful for about this year’s problems and hardships brought about by worsening calamities, troubling unrest and violence spreading in different countries, poverty, unemployment, as well as the compounding effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, just thinking about what the future holds may already make them so worried that they end up feeling hopeless and in despair.
In contrast, God’s true servants never cease thanking Him even when facing negative situations in their life. In Psalm 41:11–12, this is written:
“Racked by the ceaseless taunts of my persecutors, Where is thy God now? Soul, art thou still downcast? Wilt thou never be at peace? Wait for God’s help; I will not cease to cry out in thankfulness, My champion and my God.” (Knox Bible)
As human beings, God’s people may also feel sad and worried in times of trouble and persecution. However, instead of being downcast or in despair, they “cry out in thankfulness” to God as they wait and hope patiently for His help to come. Even amidst trying times, they remain thankful to Him. He protects them from illness, and when they are sick, He restores their health. He supplies their daily needs, not only the material, but most importantly, spiritual ones. These blessings edify their faith, enabling them to remain active in the Church despite their problems.
True servants of God are not deterred by worries. They instead set aside negative thoughts and remember, and even recount or tell of all the wonderful works the Lord has done for them, His people:
“Let them give thanks to [praise] the Lord for his love [loyalty] and for the miracles [wonderful works] he does for people. Let them offer sacrifices to thank him [thanksgiving offerings]. With joy they should tell [recount] what he has done.” (Ps. 107:21–22 Expanded Bible)
Recounting God’s wonderful works this year
Church Of Christ members recognize how God poured out His great blessings and wonderful works through the triumphs He bestowed on the Church.
For example, from January to November 2021, 117 houses of worship around the world were dedicated to God despite the pandemic. Some of them underwent major renovations but most were constructed from the ground up. Such works continue to be done as Church membership keeps increasing. In fact, two ecclesiastical districts, 58 local congregations, 70 extensions, and 254 Group Worship Services (GWS) were established this year alone.
The newly dedicated house of worship of the Local Congregation of Pasong Intsik, Ecclesiastical District of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija
The newly renovated and rededicated house of worship of the Local Congregation of Hinton, Alberta,
Ecclesiastical District of Edmonton
The intensive propagation of God’s words has led to the continued growth of the Church Of Christ, which has now reached 159 countries and territories, with members from 148 different races and nationalities. As more people join the Church Of Christ, the number of ministers and ministerial workers, who serve to assist the Church Administration in caring for the flock and in preaching God’s truth to more people, continues to increase. This year, 150 additional ministers were ordained and 725 ministerial students finished their studies to become regular ministerial workers.
Some of the School For Ministers graduates who took oath as regular ministerial workers
The continuing success of the Church Of Christ, even in the midst of the pandemic and other adversities, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His Messenger in these last days, Brother Felix Manalo, and to this work of salvation. This is the firm conviction of Church Of Christ members. Hence, for as long as they have life and strength, no matter what their situation in life is, they will never cease to give thanks to the Almighty Father.
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