Thanksgiving for man is to acknowledge the blessings of God. This acknowledgement first arises in the heart, then taking the form of words, it comes to the lips of the grateful person. From birth, man has been superbly endowed in body and mind by his Creator. All his requirements have been amply catered for, every object in the heaven and on earth having been pressed into his service. All the things necessary for his leading a good life on earth and the building of a civilisation have been provided in abundance. Man experiences these blessings at every moment. It is, therefore, incumbent on man to thank God for His blessings at all times. His heart should be eternally brimming with gratitude for these divine blessings. Thanksgiving is the most comprehensive term of worship: gratefulness is the essence of the godly life.
When a man does someone a good turn, it is something quite obvious–a tangible direct experience. On the contrary, God’s kindness, being an indirect experience, is not at all obvious. One has to be perceptive, and reflective to be able to realize what favours are granted to man by God. While the favours a man does are observable, God’s favours can be realised only by thinking about them. When man finds or receives anything in this world, it comes to him shrouded in the veil of cause and effect. He therefore regards God’s bounty as stemming from his own efforts and capacities. That is why expressions of thankfulness do not come gushing from his lips for the Giver-God. This on the part of man is the gravest kind of neglect.
While the favours a man does are observable, God’s favours can be realised only by thinking about them.
The Prophet once said, ‘One who never expresses his gratitude to other human beings will never be thankful to God.’ If the recipient of a favour fails to acknowledge it for fear of belittling himself in the eyes of his benefactor, he does himself nothing but harm. It is more a question of being belittled in the eyes of his own conscience than falling down in others’ eyes–a course by far the more injurious.
An even greater disadvantage of an ungrateful attitude is that it produces a mentality of non-acknowledgement. Failing at first to acknowledge the favours of one’s fellow men, leads on to failure to give wholehearted credence to the Lord of the Universe. There is no greater loss in this world than one who has failed to acknowledge his Creator.