By Joe Chesser
is a great holiday. It’s a time when families can get together to do things families should be doing: eating together, laughing and telling stories you’ve heard a hundred times, watching the Lions and Cowboys lose, playing games, and then eating some more. You cook and clean and travel. You get too full, too tired and extend yourself too much, but it’s all worth it. It’s Thanksgiving. That’s what people do at Thanksgiving. At least it’s a part of it.
But let’s back up for just a moment. Let’s not forget that the reason we have so much food and fun on Thanksgiving is because we have been so richly blessed by God. We have been blessed to live in a nation that allows us the religious freedom to have a holiday called Thanksgiving. We have been blessed with the financial resources to travel and to feast. We have been blessed with people in our past who have taught us about God and how He loves to give to us. We have been blessed with people, both past and present, who take seriously the need to protect our freedoms.
So, perhaps this Thanksgiving we can take advantage of time off from work and time with family and friends to set aside a special time to truly give thanks to God for the countless ways He has blessed us. Our God is a God who gives. Giving is a part of what makes Him God. Everything we have has come from God because He owns it all. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” ( 24:1). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father …” (James 1:17). If you have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner it’s because God has given you the turkey and dressing. If you spend time with friends and family on Thanksgiving it’s because God has given you the time, the people, and the means to get together. If you get some great bargains at the stores next week, thank God for those bargains. When it comes to thanking God, nothing is too trivial, even the peas and carrots. It has all come from Him, and we all need to give thanks to Him for it. When we do, we are blessed even more.
When it comes to thanksgiving, there are two parts. The first is to recognize that it is God who has given us what we have. Our hearts respond with gratitude because our heads know the source of our blessings. We know the love that gave them, and we appreciate what He has done for us. But thanksgiving involves more than just knowing and appreciating, it requires a tangible response. We give to God praise and thanks for what He has given us. We can speak it, sing it or pray it alone or with others. Certainly we are to live a life of thanksgiving. But there’s no thanksgiving without the giving.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Ps. 118:1).
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/