Summary: A Thanksgiving message.
11 And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” 13 and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds,”
17 he also adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
A salesman got lost in a rural area and stopped at a farm to get directions. As he was talking to the farmer he noticed a pig with a wooden leg. "How did the pig get a wooden leg?" he asked the farmer.
"Well," said the farmer, "that is a very special pig. One night not too long ago we had a fire start in the barn. Well, sir, that pig set up a great squealing that woke everyone, and by the time we got there he had herded all the other animals out of the barn and saved every one of them."
"So that’s how he hurt his leg?" asked the salesman.
"Oh no," said the farmer. "He was fine after that, though a while later I was in the woods out back and a bear attacked me. Well, sir, that pig was near by and he came running and set on that bear and chased him off. Saved me for sure."
"So the bear injured his leg then," said the salesman.
"Oh no. He came away without a scratch from that, though a few days later my tractor turned over in a ditch and I was knocked unconscious. Well, that pig dove into the ditch and pulled me out before I drowned."
"So he hurt his leg then?" asked the salesman.
"Oh no," said the farmer.
"So how did he get the wooden leg?" the salesman asked.
"Well," the farmer told him, "A pig like that, you don’t want to eat all at once."
What a thankful farmer!
There are four primary human emotions—mad, glad, fret, and sad. How many of these emotions are positive? Mad—negative, glad—positive, fret—negative, sad—negative. So out of four primary human emotions, only one is positive. Positive emotion keeps us healthy and negative emotion makes us sick.
God wants us to be happy all the time. The Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
This verse gives us two secrets to joy (or to have the positive emotion—gladness). It says, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. And it says, it is “the will of God.” How many of you want to do the will of God? Then, this is the will of God: God wants you to be joyful all the time. Two things can keep you joyful all the time—pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.
This is the Thanksgiving week, so I will focus on the part of God’s will that requires you to give thanks in all circumstances.
The lectionary reading today gives us the reason to live a thankful life. Even though it didn’t use the word thanksgiving, it tells us the reason to be thankful because our sins are forgiven, once and for all, through Jesus Christ, and he has opened a new and life-giving path to journey on.
Every human being, from all cultures lives with some kind of guilt because as human beings we all mess up every now and then. Every culture has a way to unload the guilt; some use a more civilized way and others more radical way.