By Johnny Hester
On the fourth Thursday of November each year, most families all across the United States gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving. For some, it is a day for naps, parades, turkey, maps, kinsfolk, naps, fanfare and football. (Did I mention naps?) I stand convicted, but recently have come to blame the turkey. This bird, so I'm told, has an extremely high concentration of tryptophan - a chemical known to make people (especially the male of the species) feel sleepy. While I have seen no actual scientific data, I suspect that the additional mounds of mashed potatoes, homemade noodles, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie might tend to enhance the effects of the culprit, tryptophan. Would you like to volunteer for an experiment? Never mind, I'll be the guinea pig myself.
On a more earnest note, while we enjoy our bountiful blessings, Thanksgiving should be a time of true reflection and introspection. It should be a day of heartfelt appreciation for the blessings received over the past year; and an occasion to acknowledge and give thanks to the origin of every blessing, our Father in Heaven. Should you need a Bible verse to use as a springboard for your devotions, allow me to suggest James 1:17. Note the following information: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." So, as we count our blessings let's remember our Heavenly Father who is the Giver of those blessings!
Of all the "good and perfect" gifts that God has given, which is the best - the greatest? It is Jesus Christ, God's Son. Only in Him can one find unlimited access to every spiritual gift that God has provided. Paul declared in Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."
Closing questions: (1) As you enjoy your feast this Thanksgiving, were you to discover that the family next door is destitute and hungry, would you share? I know your answer. Of course you would. Beloved, we all have friends and relatives who are starving spiritually because they have not yet partaken of the "bread of life" (John 6:30-59). (2) Will you share Him with others that they too might "live forever" (verse 51)?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving. And may we all become a blessing to many others as we share our bounty with them.
I am thankful for you - my spiritual family. I love you in Christ and look forward to being with you in worship this Sunday.
- Johnny Hester preaches for the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO. He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com