Last updated 11/10/2018 at 1:35am
By Rev. Jon Hayashi
In a sermon at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Gary Wilburn said:
In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years' War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, an average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster.
In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children, (which has become a standard Thanksgiving hymn in many hymnals).
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices.
Who wondrous things hath done, in whom his world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms, hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love and still is ours today.
Here was a man who knew thanksgiving comes from the love of God, not from outward circumstances.
Wow! Talk about perspective. We complain about so much: The state of our nation, the elections, that pain in our back, the buck we lost, the Seahawks losing...
Yeah, we even complain about insignificant things.
Then, I read the little article above...As I mulled over this and realized that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I was reminded of a very simple truth found in Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV84):
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
First, we aren't to be anxious about ANYTHING. Easier said than done, but there's a reason. My God is a big God. My God is a good God. My God is a caring God. He says things like "Nothing will separate you from My love which is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:35ff); "I know what you need before you even ask." (Matthew 6:8, 31-34); "Cast all your cares on me, because I care about you." (I Peter 5:7); and "Been there, experienced that, I get it!" (Hebrews 4:14-16 - paraphrased).
Secondly, He wants us to come to Him with EVERYTHING. Why? Because in doing so, we are expressing our dependence and allegiance to Him. We are acknowledging that He is the divine Sovereign over all of creation. Essentially, we are humbling ourselves and admitting that we can't go it alone, do it alone, or solve it alone.
Finally, we do it all with THANKSGIVING. It's having an attitude of gratitude that really transforms and revolutionizes our thinking. It changes our perspective on things and we begin to realize that we have much more to be thankful about than to complain about. And as we're more thankful, the things that once worried us begin to be not so big, not so worrisome. It reminds me of that other great song: Count Your Blessings.
What are you struggling with today? What frustrations, worries, anxieties, or troubles are you dealing with? Take it to God, let Him give you peace and pray with others about it. Let God change your heart and mind as you trust Him with your life.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let not your Thanksgiving be at just this time of the year, but all year long. Let Thanksgiving be a perpetual attitude of your mind and heart. Be blessed, know that you are blessed, and bless others.