Summary: What if God treated us the way we treat Him? Inspired by Melvin Newland.
One of the most beautiful Psalms of thanksgiving is the 100th PSALM. Listen to the words as I read it.
‘Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know the Lord is god. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.’
No matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to avoid big dinners at Thanksgiving. All year long, Diana cautions me about how much I eat, because she loves me and wants me to stay healthy by eating the right foods and the right amounts of those foods. But, at Thanksgiving, it is just way too hard to not eat too much. After all, it is a time to be thankful, and one of the things we in America are thankful for is the abundant blessings we have of food.
This will be the first Thanksgiving that Diana and I are away from all of our family, so we will stay home by ourselves and have many phone conversations that stretch from here to Arizona to Tennessee to Michigan and on to Florida. In case you haven’t noticed, our family is pretty spread out. But we will be with them in voice and in prayer even if we cannot be with them physically this year. And just being the two of us, we probably will not have a feast.
However, today after church, we are having our annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Fellowship Hall, and that is where I will be doing most of my Thanksgiving eating. I promise I will try to save some for everyone else.
Many of you will be hosting banquets at your home, or going to other people’s homes to eat there. Some of you might even decide to do both! And between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we will have eaten ourselves through a whole year’s worth of cholesterol, which means we all have a major New Year’s Resolution to make on January 1st. We will talk about that on another service.
As far as Thanksgiving is concerned, I truly believe that America is a nation that has been abundantly blessed by our God. And, of all the people in the world who thank God for His blessings, America should be the one doing the most thanking.
It is a normal occurrence to draw up a “Wish List” for Christmas and a list of resolutions for the New Year. But there is another list, that we often forget to write. It is a list of the reasons we should feel thankful.
My sister said she is thankful for smoke alarms, because they tell her when the turkey is done. Diana said she is thankful that I am such an easy person to cook for. I told her I am thankful that everything she cooks tastes good.
Being serious, I’m convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than we at first realize. Like you, I’m sure, my list would include the major things - life, health, family, friends, & the nation we live in, despite all the chaos some are stirring up.
What I am most thankful for is that God loved me enough to wait for me. And that He loved me enough to let His other Son die physically so that I wouldn’t have to die spiritually. And with Jesus in my heart, I have so very much to be thankful for. We truly are a privileged people, aren’t we?
But has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of giving thanks to God for blessings?
These people had no homes, no central heat, and no transportation. Their food supply depended on that day’s harvest, and they had to go reap it for themselves, because they had no Homeland Grocery or Reasor’s Grocery down on the corner.
They had the least of all Americans since, but they gave the most thanks of all Americans since. Nobody would have even thought that they were underprivileged.
Now, considering the fact that they had so little in most areas, what did they have that they were so thankful for. They had a willingness to work hard, an absolute faith in the Lord, they had courage, and they had the initiative to put all this together and make it work.
Yes, it is true. Our forefathers did believe in God Almighty as the head of this country. And they even took the time to thank Him for giving them the blessings that they had. To hear of people who had next to nothing openly thanking God for everything they had seems strange today, doesn’t it?