Thanksgiving In Everything by: Pastor Todd Thelen
The Thanksgiving holiday is considered to be an American holiday. Tracing its roots back to the days of the early settlers, we discover a rather grisly context for that first official observance of Thanksgiving. It was the winter of 1620-1621. Only 44 out of the 102 settlers survived. At one time only 7 were healthy enough to bury their deceased loved ones in frosty graves. Despite the adversity, those pilgrims persevered.
The following Fall, that of 1621, God blessed them with an abundant harvest. Their crops produced bountifully. It was out of this abundant bounty that the first Thanksgiving Day was born. The pilgrims praised God for His faithfulness to His promise of provision. Scripture passages such as Phil. 4:19, “And my God share supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’, and 1 Thes. 5:18, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”, became sustaining sources of encouragement for the God-fearing settlers. Their faith in God and praise to God were not conditional. Their circumstances did not dictate their dependence upon or their devotion to God.
In Phil 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul speaks quite candidly when he states, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” With these words, the Bible is encouraging us to be consistent in our response to either prosperity or poverty – to be content.
Contentment is to gratefulness what humility is to honor. There is an attractive graciousness to gratefulness. Contentment says, “I have enough – more than enough.” “I don’t need more.” Being thankful for what one has been provided is the only appropriate response to the One who alone provides – God Almighty.
Psalm 100 has been dubbed a Psalm of Thanksgiving. Hear the fourth verse of this Psalm; “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” The giving of thanks to God – now that’s a good and godly Thanksgiving.