Summary: Four times in the Gospels, Jesus thanked God for something. Here's how to follow His example
Part Two: When Jesus Said “Thank You”
This coming Thursday, we celebrate Thanksgiving. We love thanksgiving. We love the travel. We love the food. We love the triptophen that makes all the men fall asleep watching football.
How many of you know which President made Thanksgiving a federal holiday? Was it George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt? [Cue each entrance]
The answer is Lincoln. George Washington proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving, but left it up to each state as to when they would observe it.
Roosevelt actually tried to move it. True story. From 1939 to 1941, FDR made Thanksgiving a week earlier so that the holiday shopping season could be a week longer.
In September of 1863, a 74 year old magazine editor named Sarah Hale wrote to Lincoln, urging him to have an annual day of Thanksgiving made a set national holiday. Before that, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving day at different times. So Lincoln responded with this proclamation:
In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity…peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict… No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
But if you are a Christian, you have to ask the question, is there only one day a year when you give thanks?
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Four times Jesus said “thank you”…
1. Jesus thanked God for food (John 6:5-11)
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
Its remarkable that two of Jesus’ disciples—who had followed Jesus more closely and spent more time with him than anyone else in history, didn’t believe Jesus could provide for them. They had already seen Him change water into wine (John 2), so its amazing to me that they come to Jesus focused on what they don’t have, rather than what Jesus can provide. Phillip does the math, and figures out it would take two hundred denarii to give every person even a mouthful.
I did the math. A denarius is a day’s wage. In Alabama, minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. So before taxes, if you were making minimum wage, you would get $58 a day. So, two hundred days wages, at minimum wage, would be $11,600.
A chick fil a boxed lunch is $5.79 per. So it would cost almost $30,000 to feed just the men in the crowd. So Philip isn’t wrong.
Andrew does a little bit better. He at least gathers some resources: “There is a boy here with five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many.” Interestingly, the word John uses for “fish” here isn’t “icthus,” like in every other gospel, but “opsarion,” which specifically means “small fish,” or even “relish.” So its like a fish spread.