Summary: Thanksgiving occurs in our life when we believe and live out the truth that the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.
(Psalm 89:11; 24:1;Dan.4:28-35)
You can imagine the feeling, if on a Sunday morning, I came into this sanctuary and a stranger was sitting in this chair and then at 11 am proceeded to get up and lead the
worship and preach the message. The thoughts could easily pass through my mind:
--why is he sitting in my chair
--why is he preaching from “my” pulpit
It would be something like the feeling you may have when Sunday after Sunday you come and sit in the same pew, and then one Sunday you come and some new person is sitting “in your pew”.
When reality settles in, we realize that is not your chair at all- that chair belongs to the church and the only reason you can sit in it is because the church makes it available to whomever is preaching the message and by the way that is not your pulpit- that pulpit also belongs to the church and not to you and if you really want to get it right, Parry, that pulpit belongs to God and whomever He would choose to put in it.
It’s the same when we go to work if we are a truck driver or a machinist. Our employer hires us to drive a truck to make deliveries and pick-ups, but not very long after driving
that truck day after day, I develop the feeling this is my truck and if I come into work and find someone else driving “my” truck, I want to know why just as I would if
I worked the same machine everyday and then months later came in to find somebody
else working “my” machine when all the time the truck or the machine or whatever it
is the desk, the computer, the company car – they are not mine at all but are so to speak
“on loan” to me while I am employed by this church or that company.
I raise this point of ownership with you on this Thanksgiving eve Sunday to makes us
conscious once again that if we are truly to be thankful in this thanksgiving season or in any season for that matter, the question of ownership must be clearly settled in our hearts.
And when it comes down to who owns what, the Word of God is very clear:
The heavens are Yours (O Lord), the earth also is Yours the world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them.
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
the world and those who dwell therein.
You and I are surrounded everyday by things we think we own: our car, our home, our children, our clothing, our money, our hidden away collections of coins, guns, dolls,
family heirlooms. Hey, who owns that white contour ford in the parking lot, they have me blocked in? I own this land free and clear and here’s what I’m going to do with it.
Sometimes we joke about the bank owning the car or house because the bank holds the mortgage or title, but beyond the joking is this daily mental perception we have and especially after the loan is paid off- this is really mine:
I earned it; I bought it; I paid it off with my money.
What I am trying to say this morning is that until we truly believe it all belongs to God; He owns it all, until that perception is clear and bedrock to us, thanksgiving will only be a good meal on Thursday with the family.
Think about when you are truly thankful. Is it not when you’ve had something or someone valuable and then lost it or him or her and then recovered the lost? Maybe it was your health and suddenly you lost the use of your hand to paralysis or you were
in such pain you couldn’t walk but then by medicine or an operation or therapy of some kind your health was restored – how thankful you were.
We see it from time to time in the news when a child is lost or kidnapped and then found safe and unharmed and returned to the parents. Tears of joy and thankfulness flow easily.
And whether it’s our health or child, our job or home- whenever it is lost or harmed-
amidst all the other issues that can erupt, ownership (control) invariably rampages
through our mind- I thought I took care of myself, my health was fine; my child is
seldom out of my sight, but I just got swept up in the crowd at the stadium and
I thought Bill had Bobby and he thought I had Bobby and then there was no Bobby around.
Do you really own your health, your child any more than you really own your job or your house?