The reason and the season of Thanksgiving
One of the most valuable resources in ministry and Bible study is a concordance. It is a book that compiles on the words written in the Bible and tells which verse to find. It is a great reference book. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is a very important message throughout the Bible.
A search through the Bible, using a concordance, helped me find about 175 Bible verses mention thanks is one way or another. The Israelites of the Old Testament made it a regular part of their worship to give God a thank offering. They gave God their offerings for their sins and for the forgiveness He gave them. They had an offering called a fellowship offering (Leviticus 9). This offering was to be done with a heart of thanksgiving, otherwise it was not acceptable.
A heart of thanksgiving is not something easily commanded of us. We've all experienced the days when our parents gave us something to eat and we didn't like it. They would say, "Eat it and be thankful! There are others who do not have any food."
Thankfulness is not something that someone else can command us to have. Thankfulness comes when we think deeply about all the great things that have happened to us. There are many events in our lives that can make us thankful. Many friends and loved ones have done so much to make our lives richer.
If you have faith in God, thankfulness is a part of your faith. The Bible is filled with stories of God's greatness to the people of faith. He is a God who loves us. He is able to rescue us and provide for us. When we know Him, we know Him as a good God who is kind and generous. It's true of people in our lives, too.
It's important to be thankful for everyone who has done nice things for us. We can be thankful for parents who raised us in homes that had clothes and food and the comfort of knowing someone loves us.
The holiday of Thanksgiving Day began with English settlers who had left their home in England and went to Holland for 12 years. They were inspired to leave there and move to the New World, across the ocean. After a difficult journey on the ship, they spent a long year trying to settle in their new land. Their leaders, William Bradford and William Brewster were men of strong faith. Mr. Bradford had spent time in jail in England because of his faith. His wife died shortly after they landed in Plymouth. But with the help of his teacher, Elder Brewster, and his faith in God, he was determined to lead this colony of pilgrims.
After their first year of struggle and hard work, they gathered for a feast to give thanks to God. They believed that the reasons to be thankful were greater than their reasons for grief and complaining.
In this country we are able to worship God freely. We owe God this day of thanks-giving. We should spend every day giving God thanks for the people who have made this a great country to live in. We can also never forget to be thankful for God's greatest gift of salvation given to us through the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.