Transitive or intransitive -- does it matter? I know it's a holiday weekend and the last thing you wanted was a grammar lesson, but here is an important one: Transitive verbs have a direct object, but intransitive verbs do not. **Example: Throw. Bob threw a ball.** This is transitive because the verb has a direct object. Many verbs can function both ways depending upon the context to make sense of it. **Bob threw well.** Here, this same verb is intransitive. The word "well" simply describes how he threw, not what he threw. So what does this have to do with Thanksgiving?
Simple. "Thank" is a transitive verb; it requires a direct object to make any sense. **Example: Bob thanked God for another glorious day.** Now let's try it without an object. **Bob thanked.** It leaves the question, "Bob thanked whom?" Without an object of the thanking, this is an incomplete thought -- not even a sentence really. So what?
Most Americans gathered around a table with loved ones yesterday at a celebration called Thanksgiving. By doing so, each and every one of them acknowledged that there must be someone to thank! The entire holiday makes no sense unless there is some entity toward which we bow our hearts in appreciation of the things we enjoy - even if only our existence. It makes no sense for a non-believer to give thanks to random processes that have resulted in their good fortune, because the random processes did not benefit them on purpose nor can these processes even receive or acknowledge the thanks they have been given.
Someone might object, "I can be thankful without acknowledging a particular God!" Of course, that is your right, but what does the Bible say about this? Romans 1:19-22 says,
"19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..."
What follows this quote is a description of the downward spiral of sin that unbelievers fall into, but notice how simply it begins, "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." Failure to give God - the true God - credit for what he has done, and to thank him appropriately is the beginning of sin. When we think of sins, we generally think of "big" things like murder, stealing, adultery, but it all begins here - a failure to thank the right One for what He has done. This Thanksgiving, consider the object of your thanks, and understand that to do so can be the beginning of a blessed and wonderful relationship with God who has provided life, and all that we enjoy.