Summary: We can control our complaining to the extent we are actively involved in thanksliving.
From Thanksgiving to Thanksliving
Rev. Brian Bill
There’s something within us that resists giving thanks, isn’t there? It’s far easier to complain and be in conflict than it is to live a life of thanks. I’d like to propose that we can control our complaining to the extent we are actively involved in thanksliving. Or, to say it another way: When we acknowledge the presence of Jesus, our lives can move from a forecast of friction to a lifestyle of thanksliving.
Have you checked the forecast for Thursday? You might not have seen this on the Weather Channel, in the Pantagraph, the Daily Leader, or even on one of Tom Skilling’s multifaceted maps that show intriguing isobars (whatever those are). I’m glad you came this morning because I’ve just received the latest forecast for Thanksgiving Day.
Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190 degrees. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.
During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other.
A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34 degrees in the refrigerator.
Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone (taken from www.mikeysfunnies.com).
Friends, we can forecast our future faithfulness based upon whether (pun intended) we gravitate toward grumbling or we’re growing in gratitude for God’s amazing grace. We’re faced with a dilemma in this regard because most of us are natural born grumblers and a few of us are year-round residents at “Camp Complaining.” Many of us whine more than we worship and we gripe more than we express gratitude.
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Chronicles 16. The purpose of Chronicles is to explain the events of history and to set the record for families as they re-entered the land of promise. If you want to do some extra reading, much of this chapter also shows up in Psalm 105. The Ark of the Covenant, which symbolized the presence of God, is being brought back into the center of life. For a long time, God had not been front and center in the life of Israel. I suspect that some of us have drifted spiritually as well. It’s time to get the Lord back as the focal point of our lives.
The opening verses tell us that after the Ark was brought back, the people presented “burnt offerings” and “fellowship offerings” before God. After the offerings were made to God, part of what was offered went to the Almighty, part went to the priests and the final portion was given to the family for a three-day Thanksgiving feast (unfortunately no football was included).
We read in verses 2-3 that David “blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman.” Because David made these offerings, he was entitled to eat this Thanksgiving meal by himself but instead he shared it with “each” man and woman. While we might not think much of a loaf of bread and some fruitcake, the key is that David shared his plenty with those who did not have much.
We did this as church this month through Operation Christmas Child and the Caring Closet. And now we’re going to focus on Project Angel Tree as we purchase gifts for children of prisoners in this area. There’s also a group of people from PBC who are putting together Christmas meals for those in need. If you want to help with this, let me know.
Look with me at verse 4: “He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” Verses 5-6 tells us that this praise was intended to be jubilant – lyres, harps, cymbals and trumpets were used. David put a worship team together and they helped the people do three things. These three words serve as a framework for this chapter.
* Praying – “to make petition.”