November 23, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“And God says, ‘Consider this, all you who forget God or you will be torn to pieces with no one to rescue you: all those who make sacrifice with thank offerings in worship of Me shall know honor and to the ones made blameless I will show My salvation.’” (Psalm 50.22-23)
All I can say today is what I must consider for myself to be the true authenticator of what is a good Thanksgiving. The question I would pose for myself is this: “Where is God worshipped in my Thanksgiving celebration?”
Can you, as I can for myself, make a list of our “Thanksgiving” activities?
In that list of activities, can you write beside each item how God is praised, worshipped, adored, lifted up, honored, remembered and given thanks? Well, you can write something. But, will you be honest with yourself and with God about your justification for each answer fitting into the scale of righteousness? 1 Chronicles 16.34 declares “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and his righteousness [loving mercy] endures forever.” On that scale of one to ten, ten being the nearest to full righteousness, how “righteous” would all our activities be rated?
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against all those activities we throw ourselves into on this “one day of the year” we call Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of each November. I love to indulge in the food, drink, laughter, family, football, games and naps just like the rest of you. I enjoy cooking as much as I dislike cleaning. I am glad it is a day we share as much as I am glad it is all over with at the end of the day. But, where in all of this does God take first place? How does our “worship in Thanksgiving” appear evident to those who attend with us in His courts with praise? Do we assume token Thanksgiving because we offer a prayer over the meal and those who are sharing in it? During those football games is God’s name mentioned more in vain than in honorable intentionality throughout the day? I have to believe that our “true worship, true thanksgiving, true faithfulness” is a testimony to our adherence to righteous living as the predecessor to our thanks giving. How many times during Thanksgiving do we give “thanks” to each other? Is our common courtesy more practiced on that day than in other days? Is our gratitude for the sacrifices made by others to show love for one another a witness born by each of us to reflect the sacrifices which God made to show His love for each of us?
Or are we more consumed with the “off day” from the rest of the life we live in the world so that thanksgiving is more an excuse than an opportunity? For me, it is a poignant reminder of those who had little have received a blessing from those who had a little more. This sacrificial offering does it come from the overflow of our lives or from the undertow of our lives? What draws us into the lives of expressing thanksgiving to God for all He has done to provide for us because we chose to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”? Isn’t this what Thanksgiving is really supposed to be about? Maybe the question of authenticity rises up out of my awareness of how many do I know who will not be able to give thanks because the word of God’s presence and presents is foreign to them or sadly unknown? Complicate this by the very fact of what have I not done to make both His presence and His presents known to them?
I suppose if I am still able to ask that question, then I am not too far past being thankful and accept the challenge to be more thankful in the days and seasons of life yet to come. How about you?
For the blessing of a conscious awareness of the truth You have placed before me as one responsible to Your presence and your presents, I give you thanks. I also ask for more strength, courage and awareness of how I can translate my thanks giving to thanks living in Jesus’ name. AMEN.