Pastor Jason Murphy
This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a day set aside to give thanks to God for His many blessings. In doing so, families will gather around a festive table and enjoy a feast that will in no doubt include family recipes that have been handed down through the generations. Following the great feast, children will go outside and play in the yard, while the adults sit around the table and talk. At some point, the conversation will move to the living room because your favorite football team will be playing in the annual Thanksgiving rival game. By the time the game ends, you will have eaten your weight in turkey and desserts!
I am sure each family has their own tradition that will vary from the one that I just described, but one thing is for sure, each family will eat, nap and watch T.V. As you celebrate this Thanksgiving, let me encourage you to actually take time to thank the Lord for His goodness and His divine providence in your life.
You may not have thought about it, but Thanksgiving is rooted in being thankful for God’s divine providence. Many people who are reading this post have had a rough year or even a couple of years. Many of the readers have lost jobs, lost their health, and some have even buried a loved one. Deep down the reader knows that God is good and that He deserves our thanksgiving, but how does one offer thanksgiving in the midst of such pain, sorrow, and suffering? I think we need to be reminded that even in our pain, sorrow, and suffering, God is at work. He will redeem every situation so that it turns out to be for our good.
Consider the origin of Thanksgiving. Most people think of Thanksgiving as the joyous feast that the Pilgrims and the Indians shared in 1621. However, we would do well to remember that the feast of Thanksgiving was in the making for years before the date of 1621. The Europeans had been trading with the Indians up down the eastern seaboard for centuries before they planted the first lasting colony on this land. One man was known for his cruelty. On an expedition, he took an Indian captive and sold him into slavery in Spain. This Indian, known as Squanto, escaped and ended up going to England where he worked for an English family while waiting for a ship to return to America. In the process, he learned English, the English way of life, and Christianity.
Squanto eventually sailed back to America only to find that his tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic. He was befriended by a neighboring tribe known as the Massasoit. Years later, the Pilgrims landed. Their journey was a rough one. In fact, roughly 50% of the people died during the journey, as well as from the effects of the first winter. They were in a desperate situation, literally struggling to survive.
This Thanksgiving, let us be reminded that no matter what we are facing, the Lord is in control. He is working behind the scenes. He will redeem the situation, in His time, and it will ultimately be for our good.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, comes Squanto. He is a native of the land who speaks the King's English. He befriends the Pilgrims and teaches them how, when, and where to plant, hunt, and fish. The next year, the Pilgrims were so grateful for a bountiful harvest that they set aside time to feast and to thank the Lord for His blessings, and for His divine providence in redeeming the situation. The Pilgrims invited their Indian neighbors to share in their bountiful harvest and to thank them for helping them. The feast lasted for three days.
So, this Thanksgiving, let us be reminded that no matter what we are facing, the Lord is in control. He is working behind the scenes. He will redeem the situation, in His time, and it will ultimately be for our good.
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
I bet if you look back over your life, you will recall how God has had His hand on you. He has blessed you abundantly. He has even orchestrated events in your life well in advance in order to bring about provision, healing, blessing, etc. at just the right time. I am not downplaying anything that you might be going through at the moment. I am simply encouraging you to look back over your life, and you will see that you have been blessed, and you have a lot to be thankful for.
I pray you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here are some Scriptures for you to consider this Thanksgiving week. All Scriptures are from the ESV.
Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 107:21 - “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man”.
Psalm 136:1-3 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;”
Ephesians 5:18-20 – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The message is clear. We are encouraged, indeed commanded, to give thanks to the Lord for He is good, and has been good to us, and because He deserves it.