Thoughts About Thanksgiving

It is almost Thanksgiving Day and I got to thinking about Thankfulness and so I thought I would share
with you a little about being thankful.
My wife was teaching children’s fellowship the other day and she read the story about the first
Thanksgiving to the children and it really struck a chord with me. A small group of people persecuted for
the way they worshipped God and what they believed, so, they hire a ship and head off to the new
world in search of religious freedom. When they get there they didn’t have adequate food or shelter and
a lot of them died that first winter. Fortunately, the Indians were friendly and taught the pilgrims how to
hunt, farm and fish. By the end of summer, the harvest was good and the people invited their Indian
friends to a feast. The Indians brought deer and turkey and a lot of other food for the banquet.
So, yes, they had food to eat, but, really what were these people thankful for? Think about it! They had
been persecuted, chased out of their homes, they took a small ship, by the way, have you seen the
replica of the Mayflower, the ship they sailed on? I would hardly call it a ship. There are personal water
craft that are twice the size of the Mayflower. They were stuck down below deck for about 90 days,
many got sick, some died. Many of their friends and family members were dead from the boat ride or
the first winter. So, why were they giving thanks? Oh, and to whom were they giving thanks?
Maybe, the answer is in Psalm 103.
Psalm 103:1-2 (KJV)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
After the harrowing experiences to get to the New World and after that horrid winter they still
remember some of God’s benefits. You see, it is a matter of perspective. Are you going to look
back at the past or are you going to keep looking forward. They saw something more in the
future. Paul was like that.
Philippians 3:13-14 (KJV)
13 Brethren, I (Paul) count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If you know anything about Paul you know he had it made. He was highly educated, had a wife
and at least one child. He had status in the community and in his religion and was on the fast
track to the top. Yet, he gave it all up so that he could worship God and heed the calling of God.
He saw something beyond this World and strove for that prize.It is an easy thing for me to point out verses in the Bible that tells us to be thankful, BUT, it is
another thing for you to see what Paul, the Pilgrims and many others saw and were committed to
rather than the world in which they lived. When you have the perspective of the Pilgrims thanks
wells up from deep inside!
In Hebrews chapter eleven God gives a list of Old Testament believers that stood through some
of the worst of conditions and it says of them…
Hebrews 11:13-16 (KJV)
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were
persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had
opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called
their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
These were servants of God, we are sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ! The Bible says
that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the eternal weight of glory
that awaits us. (II Corinthians 4:17) They, in Hebrews chapter eleven, looked forward to the New
Jerusalem. Christians look forward to going to Heaven!
It is impossible to keep standing for God and moving forward in the things of God unless you
know, unless you are convinced, unless you are committed to the truth of God’s Word telling
you that you are a son of God and that you are going to heaven where you will be in the presence
of God, His son Jesus Christ and with all of those who were born again of God’s spirit. Where
you will be rewarded for your stand here on Earth.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 (KJV)
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the
dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of
the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.With that in mind it made it easy for the Pilgrims to thank God for all that they had here on Earth
and what they will receive at the return of Christ for his Church. What a joyous occasion that
first Thanksgiving was. Most people think it was just for the food, for the friends and family still
alive with them, but, it was much much more.
So, when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner where will your commitment lie and what will
you be thanking your God and Father for?
Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his
people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Happy Thanksgiving!