Something to Be Thankful For

  

Thanksgiving  Let me ask you a question, “At what point should a person be thankful for what they have?” “When would you know that you have reached such a level of prosperity that it is the right thing to do to have a Thanksgiving celebration?”  Or putting it another way, if you could go back in history and be the person or the committee that was going to plan the inaugural thanksgiving celebration, at what point would you say now we can celebrate?

  In the winter of 1620, 102 passengers landed in the new world. When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock there were: no friends to welcome them,
no inns to entertain or refresh there weatherbeaten bodies, no houses awaited them, no stores for them to find food and clothing. What did greet them
was wilderness, wild animals and unknown peoples.

  They found the first year almost too much to bear. Of the 26 heads of
families, only 12 survived to spring. Of 18 married women only 3 lived through the winter. All told 46 people died in the first year. They had only 20 acres of corn and they had a very thin margin of survival. Yet they decided to have a thanksgiving celebration as they harvested their first crops one year later. They did this to publicly thank the Lord for what he had given them.

  There is no level at which thankfulness should began, because we should be thankful for whatever we have, great or small. Our thankfulness isn’t dependent upon what we have materially. It is dependent upon a heart and an attitude that is focused on the Lord and being thankful to Him no matter what the circumstances.

  In Luke 12:13-15 we find this exchange: Then someone called from the crowd, ‘Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?’ Then he said, ‘Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.’”

  Jesus is saying life is not about how much or how little stuff we have. How many days could you go without going to the grocery store because you have so much food in your house? How many days could you go without ever wearing the same cloths because your wardrobe is that expansive? Quality of life is not proportionate to one’s possessions. There is more to life. Even an abundance of possessions does not bring fullness of life. In Luke 15 the man had implied that his life would be better if he had more possessions. Jesus said that was not necessarily so. People should seek God rather than riches because God does bring fulfillment to our life.

  Philippians 4:11-13 Paul writes about his own experience and says, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have l learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

  Paul was content in all circumstances because he had a life characterized by thankfulness. If you are a thankful person you are a content person and the things you have are enough. Paul was not saying that he shunned abundance, that he wanted to be without things, but he was saying it is all right if I don’t have them because really the most important things of life are not the things we surround ourselves with. It is our relationship with God.

  What possession could you not live without? Admittedly there are some things that we would really miss, some things that we would have a lot of adjusting to do in our lives if they were no longer a part of our lives. But if we were honest we would have to say there are none of our possessions we can’t live without. Because for many years (maybe not in our lifetime) other people did live without such items. This fact is something for which we ought to be truly grateful.

 Someone put it this way: “It is not that we shouldn’t give thanks for things received, our life, health, home, family, freedom, a tall, cold lemonade on a summer day. Are all worth giving thanks to God for, but above all things we need to be most grateful for who God is, for the very nature of our God, regardless of things received.”

  In Habakkuk 3:17-19 this is the very attitude that is expressed. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”
 
Pastor Curtis Tschetter
308-284-4441