From the Pastor
I love Thanksgiving!
All the great food, time with family and friends, football (go Lions!), and the specific time set aside to be thankful for all we have makes it one of my favorite holidays of the year. What I may love most about Thanksgiving though, is its lack of prominence in the world of commerce. As you’re running errands on any given day from about mid-October through December, you will find Christmas decorations galore. Even Easter items start to show up alongside Valentine treats. The world has taken advantage of almost every church celebration, and then there is Thanksgiving, a holiday that stands alone in its significance and purpose in our relationship with God.
Thanksgiving is unique among holidays, because unlike almost every other holiday, it can be hard to make it all about me. The act of thanksgiving is completely outward focused. If you make it all about yourself, then you are no longer being thankful, you’re being selfish. To be thankful, the act of thanksgiving has to be focused somewhere else, and on the last Thursday of November, we take the time to focus on God and His gifts for us.
So, what does God say about being thankful? Well, I didn’t find much where God gives instruction about being thankful, instead I found many verses throughout God’s Word from God’s people focusing their thankfulness on God. He is the center of our thank-fulness and as God’s people we keep that as our focus during this Thanksgiving season (and every season!). The Psalms, the prayer book of the Bible, is where we find many words of thanksgiving directed toward God. How can we learn from just three of these verses?
Proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all Your wondrous deeds. Psalm 26:7
Thankfulness is meant to be proclaimed, shouted from the rooftops, and celebrated! We are thankful for the goodness of God that has entered into our lives. Whether it be the big flashing acts of God, or the little, day-to-day, moments that we often overlook God is the One who gives us every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Around the Thanksgiving table, we have an opportunity to share what God has done for you over the past year. How can you verbally show your thankfulness to God this season? It isn’t selfish to talk about God to others, and during the holiday season others may be more ready to hear God’s works for you than at other times of the year.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:17
Thankfulness is meant to be lived out, worked into our daily lives! Recognizing that all we have comes from God, our lives are then ordered in a different manner (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thankfulness leads to self-lessness, because then all we can do is give back to God through giving back to others. That is why we have opportunities like Kids Against Hunger (sign up here: bit.ly/45OhGDw) at RLC where we recognize the over-abundance of gifts that God has given us and then give to those in need all around the world. How is God calling you to live out thankfulness this season?
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1
Thankfulness has a reason! God keeps His promises (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) of enduring love, an eternal home, a loving embrace, a steadfast Savior, and grace-filled Forgiver. Of all the gifts that God shows to all people (Matthew 5:45), His eternal gifts are those that we are most thankful for. Without His eternal gifts, we would be lost in this world and without hope. Praise be to God for His goodness that never ends!
Your thankful brother in Christ,
Pastor Zach Sarrault