I Am Thankful
There was a controversy among the members of the Church at Rome regarding Holy days. While the Jews insisted upon keeping the special feast days of the Old Covenant, many gentile Christians saw no reason for commemorating Jewish historical holidays. The Jews were strongly condemning those that refused to follow their example. Though Paul was careful to keep the Holy days himself, his instruction is clear – it matters not whether we make certain days special, so long as we glorify God every day!
Once again the holiday season is upon us and business interests are preparing to use our history and faith to sell us a bill of goods. For the next few weeks television programs and commercials using family and nostalgia to sell products and ideas will inundate our homes. Millions of families will sit down to eat this Thursday and say grace for the first and last time of the year. In most homes, the obligatory Thanksgiving Prayer is no more than the tinsel and ornamentation used in decorating the Christmas tree. As soon as the turkey, parades, and football games are finished they will pack away Thanksgiving until next year.
For many years there has been a trend toward trivializing Christian holidays. Very few Americans will really express thanks to God for the blessings of life - it is hard to be thankful and complain at the same time. For some reason we have come to think we deserve happiness and prosperity, and that God does not deserve thanks unless we have it. Thanksgiving originated with the Founding Fathers. Compared to their troubles our’s are pretty insignificant. The person that truly loves God will give thanks regardless of his life’s situation. The order of creation demands that God be praised under every circumstance!
For many individuals, the holidays are the most depressing time of year. Why should that be so? I believe the heart has gone out of our witness and the holy is missing from our holidays. Let us not just go through the motions again this year. Why not take the time to recall the reason for our celebrations?
I. Let Us Honor the Lord For His Goodness and Patience
A. It is manifest in three ways:
1. Goodness that has forgiven past sins
2. Patience with us in the present
3. The promise of deliverance in the future
B. The character of God is seen in His dealings with us
1. Though He hates sin He offers mercy to the sinner. Thanks to God He can distinguish between the two!
2. He responds to our shortcomings with an abundance of love. God is reconciled to us – it remains for us to be reconciled to Him
3. He gets angry at sin yet does not let us go hungry
II. Let Us Fear Following the World’s Example
A. Of complacency and conceit
1. Taking His grace for granted. We have so much more than one meal to be thankful for! We have our families, our churches, and our relationship with God’s Son
2. Never let us congratulate ourselves for what we have done but let us glory in His saving effort
B. Of failing to recognize the source of all that is good and positive in the world
I am thankful for –
My family, friends, and Church!
For health and prosperity!
For the promise of Jesus’ return!
Thanks is more than saying grace, it is a deep down gratitude for the living, loving, Savior! May we thank God everyday for our blessings, our successes, our trials, and even our failures. Each of these enables us to be more what God desires us to be.