On Thanksgiving… Are we really just thanking God for the things that keep us BOUND IN FEAR?
Now, no one will ever make that statement when the family is going around the room sharing the one thing for which they are grateful. At least, we hope not. What a downer that person would be. So, I’ll save you that experience by asking the question now.
On Thanksgiving… we thank God for the money to have such a bountiful celebration, but we’re continually stressed trying to afford our chosen lifestyle.
On Thanksgiving… we thank God for family and friends, but we hold grudges in our hearts against those who never invite us over or fail to send a birthday card on time.
On Thanksgiving… we thank God for our country, but we stay angered at people who vote differently than us, and we denigrate elected officials rather than pray for them.
I’ve been reading a book called Deep Peace by Todd Hunter, and he lists many things that rob us of our peace. His words have convicted me. One point that stuck with me is we can find peace a lot easier if we live with less. Less of what? I think that depends on each person and the things that keep us from loving God and our neighbors.
I Timothy 6:6-7 states, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
Have you met anyone who exemplifies those verses? Have you noticed how the fruit of the Spirit grows bountifully in them? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They’re not double-minded.
The Apostle Paul wrote these things to Timothy, and in the verses that follow, he applies this thought to food, clothing, and the use of money. But its application can reach many areas of our lives, like those Thanksgiving examples I wrote about above. When we live with fewer of the unnecessary requirements we place on ourselves and others, we can fulfill the Lord’s words, “It is better to give than receive.” We are freed from becoming people’s judges. Freed from besetting anger. Freed from the stress of maintaining our possessions. And in turn, we are empowered by God’s Spirit to love God and our neighbor.
This Thanksgiving, can we be honest? Maybe not in front of all your guests, but before the Lord, using a prayer like the one found in Proverbs 30:7-9: “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”