Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Can you imagine being at your aunt’s birthday party but never wishing her a Happy Birthday? That would seem very strange indeed! Can you imagine celebrating Thanksgiving without giving thanks? But doesn’t that happen often? Shopping is taken care of for the big meal. People are invited for the meal. Everything is nicely furnished for the Thanksgiving meal. It is delicious. Our tummies are full, we are ready to watch the football game or do some other entertainment. We get ready for Black Friday shopping and sales. But along the line, giving thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day is overlooked or, worse yet, completely (and in some cases purposely) disregarded.
Some may give thanks to other people but not to God. Some as they view what they own may give credit and thanks to their own hard work and skill and wise investments. But God reminds us, “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
We Americans have been richly blessed with freedoms and material blessings. Even many of our poor are better off than most of the world’s population. God has been good, very good to us. Our hearts ought to be full of gratitude. But the sense of gratitude has an enemy. It is the sense of entitlement. We might feel that God is obligated to take care of us. We might feel entitled to all we have – and even more. But God is not obligated. We should not want God to give us what we really are entitled to because we are sinners. Yet He has cared for us and graciously given blessing upon blessing. A sentence from a hymn stanza says to the Lord, “All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, O God, from Thee.”
Thank you, Lord, for all we have. Thank you especially for greater blessings than material prosperity, Jesus once asked what good is it for a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul. On our thanksgiving list are the gifts of forgiveness earned by Jesus Christ, the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit, and the fabulous future of heaven.
There are many ways to show our thanks. Actually say thank you to the Lord, Have the attitude of gratitude. Come to one of the church services on Thanksgiving. Bring a special and generous offering to the Lord for His work.
But best of all your blessings, The rainbow of your love,
Are all the many mercies Your Word brings from above.
Our life now has full meaning – Christ Jesus is our God!
Thanksgiving shall be living The way the Savior trod.
Pastor Dan Pautz