We are coming up on that “most wonderful time of the year!” Even though all the stores have had their Christmas decorations on display for several months, I’m sorry, but I cannot get jazzed for Christmas action until we pass through the most neglected time of the year. That is Thanksgiving. Oh, I know. Thanksgiving is a big deal for many. But unfortunately, in our modern culture it has been relegated to pre-game meal status for the Christmas season. The thing is, we have been blessed with sooooooo much for soooooo long that I think sometimes we lose our heart of thanksgiving. We take the good things for granted and start thinking of them as just normal things. Or worse yet, things that we have earned or deserve. Moses warned the people of Israel long ago, “When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give to you – a land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant – and when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 CSB). A lack of thankfulness puts us on dangerous ground. Remember, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 & 1Peter 5:5). Thankfulness is humility in action. I have heard it said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself, less.” But I think the Bible teaches that humility is thinking of yourself rightly in relation to God. Humility does not disregard what we are thankful FOR. It always remembers Who we are thankful TO. James reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17). Do not skim over Thanksgiving. Let it become a daily celebration for your life. Humble people are thankful people and by their thankfulness open their lives to the outpouring of God’s grace. It is, after all what God wants for us. “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:18). HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
We live in a society that demands microwave speed and slow cooked results. Our time and energy are of such value to us that we can’t bear the thought of investing either into activities that don’t produce an immediate desired result. We constantly search for short cuts and time saving devices. I had a professor in seminary who taught Hebrew. He made a statement in class one day in response to the complaints of some “overworked” students. “Everyone wants to pay for an education, but nobody wants to earn one.” The implication was clear. The old saying, “Pay your fees; Get your C’s” was not how real knowledge was gained. You may finish your time with a diploma but real knowledge takes more than just signing up for the class. Real knowledge is gained in the time and energy consuming study and practice of the subject. Real knowledge costs! Real worship costs, too! In fact, It costs everything. Paul instructed us in Romans 12:1-2 that real, transformational worship requires us to daily place ourselves on the altar of sacrifice. King David stated, “…I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24b). Just as there are no cheap and easy paths to the knowledge of God, there is no cheap and easy worship. They both cost time and energy, but since your time and energy are both gifts from the hand of God, is there really any better way to spend them?