The Odessa Record -

Pastor's Corner

The greatest thing for which we can be thankful

 


Here we are on the cusp of another Thanksgiving holiday. As is typical, we start making our preparations for where we’re going to go or with whom we’re going to spend it. We talk about what we’re going to make and, heaven forbid, even start talking about what Christmas lights are going up. Even worse (I’m going to say it), commercialism and greed get the better of us on Black Friday.

But as we know, Thanksgiving wasn’t originally about getting the best deals for Christmas (or for ourselves) or even about football, but was rather about giving thanks to our Creator who enables us to enjoy all things (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25) and from whom all good gifts come (James 1:16-17).

Very little is known about the 1621 event in Plymouth that is the model for our Thanksgiving. One of the only references to the event is reprinted below:

“And God be praised we had a good increase… Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.” Quotation from Edward Winslow, Mourt’s Relation: D.B. Heath, ed. Applewood Books. Cambridge, 1986, p. 82.

As we do every year, we also are reminded to be thankful for the many provisions God has given us. In Hebrew, the term transliterated Jehovah Jireh means God is my Provider and harkens to the time when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. As shocking as this was, it was an object lesson, as God provided a substitute for Isaac, a ram which was offered in his stead. “Abraham called the mountain upon which this occurred, The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided’” (Genesis 22:1-19).

Some scholars believe this was the same mountain upon which Christ was crucified. So Abraham’s experience points us forward to the time when the Son of God, Jesus Christ, would be our substitute and be offered as a sacrifice on a cross for our sins, and those who place their faith in that sacrifice have the greatest reason for which to be thankful: receiving God’s mercy, that is, not getting what we deserve (hell and separation from God forever) and accepting His grace, that is, getting what we do not deserve (heaven and a restored relationship with God forever). And our response? Live our lives in gratitude for who He is and what He has done, and live our lives in such a way as to bring Him glory and not shame, honor and not disrepute, praise and worship and not cursing. So let’s celebrate this Thanksgiving truly giving thanks for the greatest thing for which we can be thankful!

 

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