Jesus and the 12 went to the corner store to get stuff for Thanksgiving dinner and what happened? They got arrested for having over 10 in the store at one time! (Just kidding!)
I want to wish each of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! Your plans for this day probably look different than past Thanksgiving…but it is still a day to be thankful for all of your blessings. The question is WHO has given you those blessings?
Psalm 107:1 (NIV) says… Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1 (msg)… Oh, thank God—he’s so good! His love never runs out.
The overarching theme of Thanksgiving (and every other day) is giving THANKS for all of God’s blessings (physical, material, relational, emotional, spiritual…) Everything you have is a blessing from God!
God wants/deserves our THANKS on good days and not so good days…and yes, even this covid impacted life we are facing:
A great verse to live by is:
Ephesians 5:20 “…Always giving THANKS to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Really? Everything? Yes!!
1 Thessalonians. 5:16-18…“Rejoice always, pray continually, give THANKS in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
Be thankful in all circumstances? How does that work? Well, maybe this fable will help:
There was a woman whose name is Anna. She was a complainer. All-day long she complained! “I have so little money, my clothes are like old rags, my health is so bad, my back feels like the walls of Jericho, I have to walk so far to draw water, I feet feel like watermelons, my house is so small I can barely move in it, my children visit me so little that they hardly know me.”
One day she woke up with an itch on her nose. All-day long her nose itched. She went into town that day and decided to visit her pastor. “How are you,” the pastor asked. (The wrong question to ask a complainer like Anna!). Anna replied, “I have so little money, my clothes are like old rags, my health is so bad, my back feels like the walls of Jericho, I have to walk so far to draw water… on and on… and now it’s my nose that plagues me.”
She asked the pastor “What does it mean.” The pastor said “Anna, your itch is the complainer’s itch… Its meaning is this, however, you consider yourself so shall you be.
The next morning Anna woke up and her nose was still itching… but she now could barely move because her back had turned into a stone, like the walls of Jericho. When she looked around her, she noticed her house had shrunk until her arms stuck out the windows and her legs hanging out the front door. She could not move in it. On the ends of her legs were 2 huge watermelons. Her clothes had turned into rags. When her son and daughter came walking by, she called out to them, but they continued walking on. They didn’t know her and her nose continued to itch.
In despair, she remembered the meaning of the complainer itch. However you consider yourself, so shall you be. And she began to think.
You know I do have enough money to live on and then some… from now on I will give out of my abundance to those who are not so well off.
My health is not so bad…. Actually, for someone my age, I feel quite well. I should be out volunteering and helping others.
And I’m glad I have such a nice house to live in. It’s not large, but it’s comfortable and quite warm and maybe I could invite some guests over.
I really don’t mind the walk to draw water. A love to smell the flowers along a path…. Maybe I should pick some for my elderly neighbor.
And my children. I’m so proud that they have become independent and are now able to take care of themselves. I should call and tell them I love them.
And miraculously, while Anna was saying these things her situation returned to normal but her outlook on life changed forever!
As Christians, we have a reason to be positive…to be thankful…to find the good in each situation,…and have countless opportunities to generously praised God.
And yet…we don’t always do that…..What is it that steals our thankfulness?
FORGETFULNESS! We have short memories. Deep down we know God has blessed us…but we may find ourselves saying things like… “Lord, I know you blessed me yesterday, but today is a new day. What have you done for me lately?”
Everything we have and everything we are comes from our loving God.
ENVY! It’s interesting that we tend to compare ourselves with those who have more than us and to feel un-thankful. And yet, we seldom compare ourselves with those who have less than we do!
Do you stop and realize just how blessed you are? Just look around and realize how blessed you are. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.
- If you can attend a church online (or in-person again soon) without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
- If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.
- If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
So, don’t let forgetfulness and envy steal your thankfulness!!!
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. Well, she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So, she did, and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “H-M-M,” she said, I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So, she did, and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. “Well, she said, today I’m going to wear my hair in a ponytail.” So, she did and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Yea! she exclaimed; I don’t have to spend time fixing my hair anymore!”
Through faith we can give thanks in ALL circumstances…trusting that God will use it for good.
So I imagine for most of us, Thanksgiving Day will look different this year…but it’s just a date on a calendar…live your life in such a way that every day is THANKS-LIVING day!!!!