I Chronicles 16: 8, 29, 34
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 2:17
This Thursday people all across America will celebrate Thanksgiving. If you ever travel during this season, particularly in the country, you will see signs of harvest. This is the season when farms, houses, and churches are filled or decorated with squash and pumpkins, multi-colored leaves, stalks of corn, wheat, grapevines and other produce, including jars of all the good stuff like pickles, jams and jellies.
Families will come together and sit down to bountiful feasts like the one we just had yesterday! Tables filled with turkey with all the trimmings, some rice and peas, jerk pork, or collard greens, macaroni and cheese, with sweet candied yams! And don’t forget the apple cider and pumpkin pie. We will reward ourselves - those of us who can - with the bounties and fruits of the harvest! This is a season when we will even remember those less fortunate than ourselves. We will distribute dinners at shelters and soup kitchens and we will have given a little extra to the food banks. And we will be satisfied.
It's good because it is right that we should feast and thank God for what he has given us. It is right to celebrate our God, and to share the fruit of our labor, and the blessings of the earth and sea. It's good to express appreciation and to rejoice over the goodness of God.
But in some cases, it also might be bad - depending on our overall attitude and approach to life and to what God has done for us, and continues doing for us. God calls us not only to a day of thanksgiving, God has called his people, as we have read in the book of Deuteronomy - from the time of Moses, to a life of thanks giving. And that is what we will discuss for a few more moments – Thanks Living.
The difference between celebrating Thanksgiving Day and Thanks Living might seem like a short matter of semantics, but we are called to live a life of gratitude. Thanksgiving Day is a temporal event. Thanks living is a way of life. Thanks living is worship – when we acknowledge God in gratitude just for who God is! Thanks living is praise when I continually bless and thank God for all HE’S done for me, my family, my community, our world!
Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that if we didn’t have Thanks Giving Day, some of us would never gather together with our families and friends! Some of us would never extend a helping hand to another if God had not set aside a “time to pluck up what was planted,” but Thanks Living is Love! And when we allow short tempers and unforgiveness to separate us from one another, the other 364 days of the year, we are also separated from God, because we are not operating in the essence of the One whom we say we serve – that is God, who is Love! John asked the question, “How can you say you love God, who you can’t see, when you don’t love your brother? 1 John 4:20 By this we know Love, because Jesus – who is Love, laid down his life for us! Saints thanks living is being postured in that same love to lay down our lives for others in need.
We allow the hustle and the bustle of life to keep us apart from one another. In spite of all our technological advances, we’re still too busy to text someone and say I love you, email somebody and say I miss you. Tweet someone on
Twitter and say, “Jesus loves you and so do I,” much less just call somebody and leave a message… that says, “I’m so grateful to God for you. You have meant so much to me in my life… call me when you can. I love you!”
God blesses us everyday! How can I say thank you once a year! The marvelous part of it all is that God is so awesome we have can’t even use the same excuses NOT to talk to God! He’s omniscient - so God knows what’s on your mind, even before you say it. He knows if you don’t even want to talk to him! He’s omnipresent so you can never say, “I tried to call you, but you weren’t home!” God is everywhere! He’s omnipotent so you can never say, “I tried to send you a message, but you weren’t able…” He’s got all power in His hands! And God is able! Hallelujah!
Giving thanks is important.
When we give thanks as a community, as a family, we are reminded of all the good things and all the good people embedded with good and perfect gifts from the Lord. In fact if we just take a moment to inhale the gift of fellowship, and witness the very imprint that has been made on our lives by those around us we can’t help, but acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord!
We remember that we have been blessed, we remember that there is a greater good than ourselves - if only for a moment or a day. Thanks Living is living a life of praise to our God, worship of our God, of Love and fellowship through the grace of our God. We begin to "live thanks" when we open our lives up to God and give God the first place. As we do this - as we humble ourselves before God and acknowledge that he is the source of every good and perfect thing, our awareness of our blessings increases, our joy is made full, and we find ourselves in an attitude of gratitude -which is the right posture to truly experience God’s grace.
Thanks living is the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit to go forth into the world to fulfill our calling as the people of God, the Body of Christ, blessed to be a blessing to others, and living in thanks for the life and provision we have received.
As you give thanks this Thanksgiving Day, remember your calling to be joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances. As you engage this practice may you hear God more clearly, be drawn to him more nearly, and love God more dearly.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
"In the power of the Holy Spirit, we now go forth into the world to fulfill our calling as the people of God, the Body of Christ blessed to be a blessing, and living in thanks for the life we have received."
In His Service,
Pastor E. Barber