Teachable Moments

The Real Work of Thanksgiving Preparation

Dear Friends – Here’s an early Thanksgiving treat for all of you.  I am going to introduce to you a guest blogger – Pastor Brian Smith (yep, it’s no coincidence that we have the same last name).  When my husband and I were discussing this upcoming Thanksgiving, he generously shared with me his latest bible study in preparation for this holiday.  It blessed me – may you be blessed as well!

Do you want to have a great Thanksgiving this year?  

Let’s not settle for a superficial thanksgiving. I am struck by how offended our God is with a thankless heart. The book of Romans starts with the warning that the wrath of God is being revealed. Why? “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking…” (Romans 1:21). The natural response to having life and breath, food, clothes, and a family (and for the Christian, salvation, a church family, and the security of salvation) is to give thanks. 

Paul tells us that if we are not thankful there is something drastically wrong. Our thinking has become futile. The Holman translation puts it this way, “their thinking became nonsense.” The grumbling person is not in their right mind. The tragedy is that they think their thinking is just fine. Like the man who thinks he is the king of Mars others see his nonsense, but he sees his every thought as self-confirming of his kingship. 

The tragedy is that the thankless person can’t be reasoned into thankfulness. His reasoning is broken. What the thankless person needs is not to be reasoned into “having a better attitude”, but to repent of a heart set in rebellion against his Creator. Anything less is dressing the wound lightly (Jer 6:14) by working up some sentimental feeling of thankfulness. 

The secret to having a thankful heart is the opposite of what most people think. It is to repent of our rebellion. Cry out for a renewed heart. Long to be truly thankful for life, breath, health, family, our own green grass, the forgiveness of sin, the gift of a church family, the joy of music, and the promises in the Word of God. The problem with the thankless person is not with everyone else, it is within. It is ultimately with our Creator. The solution is not to complain, or to run to greener grass, or to be reasoned with; the solution is heart surgery. If you want a great Thanksgiving, will you turn off the media, find a quiet place, and take as long as it takes to pray this prayer, honestly, from the heart? 

Psalms 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.  5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.  7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.  13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.  14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.  15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.  17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor Brian

Friends – are you encouraged and challenged? I hope so.  May this year as we celebrate this Thanksgiving, no matter where or how, may we be thankful to the God who provides so well for us eternally.

Blessings and Warmest Thanksgiving Blessings – Elizabeth