|Volume 17 Number 11 November 2015||
Tradition holds that the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. The previous winter had been very hard, and they did not have enough provisions to last them much longer. The hero of the story is a native named Squanto who taught the settlers to fish and helped them grow crops, and they celebrated a good harvest and friendship with the natives.
Of all the things for which we should be thankful, the greatest is life. We should be thankful for our physical lives, but more than that, we should be thankful for our spiritual lives.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)
Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19)
Sometimes we need to stop and listen to ourselves. If we recorded everything that we say during the day and played it back at the end of the day, what would we find about our speech? I am not talking about profanity and foul language. Hopefully faithful Christians would never hear that in their recordings. What I am talking about is what attitude would our speech show us as having?
If we are honest with ourselves, way too often the largest percentage of our words are negative – complaining about this or that. We complain about having to get up to go to work or worship. We complain about our families. We complain about the weather. We complain that the temperature is not right. We complain about the sun in our eyes on the way to work. We complain about our jobs. If we are not careful, we can waste away most of our day with words of complaint.
I want to encourage us (most definitely me included) to watch our complaining. We need to show an attitude of gratefulness to God for all we have. We need to be thankful we can get up to go to work or worship. We need to be thankful that we have loving families. We need to be thankful that we have a day in which to live, no matter the weather or temperature. We need to be thankful for our jobs.
Will we ever have reason to complain? Of course, it is life. Yet, may we overwhelm the complaining with thanksgiving. Remember Paul says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”