I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
– Percy Shelley
All the works of men will be destroyed. The greatest accomplishment of men will be wiped away. The long standing structures like the pyramids of the Egyptians, the Great Wall of China or the Roman Roads will one day cease to be. All that man values will be destroyed. Only the work of God is eternal. The eternality of God is a cause to give thanks. Psalm 9:7 says, “But the Lord will endure forever.” In the previous verse David described the destruction of the wicked. They rage today and they may destroy others, but, like the fictional Ozymandias, their own destruction is coming. The wicked will come to an end. God will reign forever. Though the world is filled with troubles, though wicked men get worse and worse, they are temporary Give thanks for the eternal God rules forever. His justice is eternal, His righteousness is unending and His mercy endures forever.
Give thanks to remind yourself that you are not god. We all have a trace of Ozymandis in us, imagining that we are greater than we are. We all suffer under the desire first found in the Garden of Eden, the desire to be like God. But we are not. By giving thanks we acknowledge God is God and we are but men. Thanksfulness remembers that you and I are creatures, dependent on others, dependent on forces far outside our control and dependent upon God for all things. Thankfulness to God declares that what is ours is given to us by One greater. Thankfulness to God acknowledges that we are not sufficient to supply our own needs. Thankfulness is a reminder that we are just humans.
Thankfulness acknowledges that God is the author of life. Thankfulness remembers that every necessary thing and every unnecessary blessing comes from God. Thankfulness confesses that, “every good gift and every perfect gift cometh from above” (James 1:17) but thankfulness confesses more than that. Thankfulness declares that “by Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:17) Thankfulness remembers that it is in God, “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) In God’s hand, “is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10) In giving thanks we remember that God is God and we are not. Give thanks to God.