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Stop & Give Thanks!

So, during this time of Thanksgiving, don’t hurry on to a secular version of Christmas. Follow the example of our nation’s founders and our Lord Jesus Christ and take time to give thanks and glory to God. Take time to appreciate how blessed we are and remember that all good things come from God including the greatest blessing of all, eternal life.

If you haven’t noticed, many folks these days seem to skip right past Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. And then their Christmas celebrations have little to do with the birth of a Savior, and a lot more to do with Santa Claus, presents, and family get-togethers. But wait, giving thanks and praise to God is so very important. The Westminster Shorter Catechism got it right:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

It’s sad to say, but when I attended public school and we studied American history, references to God were few and far between. In contrast, taking a Christian American history class in Bible college proved to be a real eye-opener. I realized we were studying many of the same events taught in high school, but with God inserted back into the story. Suddenly the stories made more sense, and the deep spirituality of many of our historical figures came to light.

Thanksgiving in America dates back to 1620 when the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth to take up residence. Their first Thanksgiving feast “lasted three days and was attended by 90 Native American Wampanoag people and 53 survivors of the Mayflower Pilgrims” (Wikipedia, “Thanksgiving, United States”). But they didn’t just thank the Indians, they thanked God, the giver of all good gifts, for the abundant provisions.

 The first Thanksgiving Day proclamation did not take place until 169 years later. In 1789 George Washington declared:

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor…I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.

The entire proclamation reads for about three and a half minutes, and is, literally, one big “Thank You” to God.

Years later, on October 3, 1963, Abraham Lincoln made a similar proclamation:

I, Abraham Lincoln…set apart the last Thursday in November next…as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler…

Again, the occasion did not simply reflect a general attitude of thankfulness but involved giving thanks specifically to God for all their blessings. It’s human nature to take credit for the good things in life, but the Bible reminds us that it is God who gives us the ability to create wealth and purchase all that we own:

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, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Since God gives us the ability to make a living and buy things, to Him should go all the glory.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving time? Health? Home? Family? Friends? Food? What else? In Luke 10 Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them out to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them,

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field…When they returned, Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven…However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

There is no greater blessing to be thankful for than the assurance of everlasting life. And there is no greater tragedy than to miss out on that blessing. If you have not received Christ as your Lord and Savior, here are four simple steps to follow: https://marke150.sg-host.com/the-four-spiritual-laws/. By doing so you, too, will have the assurance of everlasting life.

So, during this time of Thanksgiving, don’t hurry on to a secular version of Christmas. Follow the example of our nation’s founders and our Lord Jesus Christ and take time to give thanks and glory to God. Take time to appreciate how blessed we are and remember that all good things come from God including the greatest blessing of all, eternal life.

In service to Christ,

Mark Eastway

Pastor, Burket Bible Church

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