Trapped between a day of druidism and a season of commercialism, Thanksgiving receives less and less worth in our nation. Since we have collective amnesia and willful ignorance, we have slowly forgotten what this holiday is supposed to be about.
Of course, as the church goes so goes the culture. And we have no one else to blame for this collective laziness but ourselves. Churches by the thousands abandoned the faith of our Puritan forefathers for an easier-to-digest civic religion. Many pontificate against that Pagan holy-day, Halloween, but know little to nothing about the Reformation that originated on that day. Others bemoan the commercialization of Christmas, but preach an impotent Christ and an emasculated Gospel. Sin is trivialized, so the Gospel loses its worth. God is humanized, so Christianity becomes voiceless. We preach perfectionism through works-righteousness; we present pep-talks with glittering lights; we talk of relationships and subjectivism, all the while ignorant of the objective truth that God saves sinners, of whom I am the chief.
Understanding the depths of sin (as displayed, for example, in the sacrificial system) is the beginning of thanksgiving. For to truly appreciate the blessings of our covenant God one must know they are blessings! Of our own hands we have not wrought this bountiful land known as America. From the wealth of money to the wealth of plenty, this material prosperity originated in God alone. Just as our salvation from first to last consists of God’s sovereign initiative and power, so, too, the material blessings (let alone the spiritual!) flow from that Fount of Life.
Deut. 8:11 warns the church of old and the church of today, both families and individuals, not to forget God and His ways, lest we think we have the power to gain wealth! “…for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…” (v. 18). This verse alone condemns all those half-truths and false Gospels which reject the Providence of God and extol the power of the will of man. When you realize that you are but dust in the wind, then you will be truly grateful and appreciative of all that God has given you. When you realize the despicableness and wretchedness of violating God’s Law and insisting upon your own way, then you will be truly grateful and appreciative of the All that God gave, His only Son.
Dear reader, write out a list of all the material blessings you have in life. Write out the spiritual blessings you have. Which do you think of most? Which do you attribute to yourself?
Be thankful. You could have been born a Pagan in the middle of India or a Communist in the midst of China. Worst of all, you could have been born reprobate and cast into the Lake of Fire forever and ever.
What do you have that was not first given you? That is the question.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Col. 3:15