Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give Thanks!

The Thanksgiving season is seen today as a speed bump before the profitable Christmas holiday season. Despite the national and cultural significance of Thanksgiving, our consumer culture sees “giving back” a more comfortable choice rather than “giving thanks”, despite our rich shared history. Implicit in the statement of “giving thanks” is the question of “to whom?” Our culture defines “Faith” these days as a choice, so therefore, any form of thanks must be a choice with the individual in the driver’s seat, hence the phrase: “giving back”. This is America 2010. Thankfully Thanksgiving is still Thanksgiving but the Christian’s Thanksgiving is more than an annual pig-out prefaced by grace.
For the Christian it is a conformity to God’s will, unceasing worship, our duty, and a foreshadowing of things to come. First Thessalonians 5:18  tells us, “it is the will of God in our Christ Jesus to give thanks to everything.” Because of our love for God, the Father, and his son Jesus, we do not wait until some designated calendar day to give thanks, but we issue thanks on a regular basis. The apostle Paul’s clearly instructs us to foster an attitude of gratitude which pleases God.

From Second Thessalonians 2:13, we read that as believers sanctified in the spirit on the path of salvation, we are obligated to give thanks. Our hyper-individualistic American identity chafes at being told what to do just like the unruly two year old or mouthy teenager, but our identity becomes transformed the moment we unite with Jesus on the day we are saved. Our focus shifts from seeking self-satisfaction to conforming to Christ within the divine interaction called sanctification. We surrender our will to him to redeem our souls from eternal condemnation earned by our individualism. Any request from such a saving God should be met with a zealous gratitude. So our attempt to do whatever God wants should be an act of love. Remember Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my law” (John 14:15). So out of duty inspired by reciprocal love we should give thanks.

The text of Revelation 7:11-12 prophesizes that on the final day of judgment all the saints and heavenly hosts will be crying out with praises and thanksgiving to our God. The described scene is awesome and beyond our mind’s comprehension, but what we can comprehend today, on Thanksgiving, and everyday is to give thanks.

Stay Prayed up,
Rev. Burton

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