Monday, November 25, 2013

Reclaiming Thanksgiving

When you lose a significant amount of physical possessions in a natural disaster you begin to realize how much stuff you consider to be treasure. You realize this when you are looking for something that you need or "need" and are unable to find it. You can get really mad, grumpy, frustrated, and irritable that you can't find said object. It reminds me of how Gollum responds when he realizes that he doesn't know where his "precious" is. (Did I let my inner nerd slip out there?) Try as we might to not allow things to become "The Thing" our old nature slips us back once again to the place were we anchor our happiness to the temporal rather than the Eternal. And as I think of these things I stop, pray, and ask God how to be thankful with what I have.

Does anyone know what national sacred holiday happens this week?........... You guessed it, Black Friday. Oh that's not what you were thinking? You didn't think it was a holiday? Tell me how many commercials or ads did you see this week promoting thankfulness, contentment, family, grace, or community? I saw ads promoting covetousness, lust (does not just include skin), discontentment, greed, and idolatry. Oh and an ad for a new toaster oven that imprints the face of Jesus on every slice of bread. I need that.

No wonder our world, our country, and our families are in the state that they are in. Jesus says of those who hold value to this evil treasure that"out of the abundance (treasure) of the heart his mouth speaks" Luke 6:45b. What we have or don't have becomes the central focus of our speech. This is not thanksgiving. When that first group of Christians set foot off the Mayflower they were not looking for fortune (unlike other explorers of this new world). Rather they were looking for a place that was simpler, where they would be free to love Jesus and hear and obey His commands. Were they perfect? Of course not, but there was something that they had figured out that we could stand to be reminded of: "Thankfulness".
 My ancestor, William Bradford (great to the 11th power grandpa) , described the legacy they desired to leave by saying:
“May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity, &c. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the; desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men.” - Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647

The foundation that these men secured their lives to was that of the faithfulness of God. When the trials came they were not shaken because their foundation was secure. Too many today are like the man who Jesus described as "building his house upon the ground without a foundation." When the flooded river broke against the house its instant destruction was complete. That man's home was surely his treasure but he neglected the foundation that simply lay beneath a few feet of soil. He had the same opportunity as the man who built his house with a foundation. He had to "dig down deep" to build off of the foundation that was offered to him. That involved a clearing away. Maybe for Thanksgiving you can take the opportunity rather than looking at what more you want, to clear away that which isn't anchored to the foundation of Christ. If what you treasure cannot be anchored to Christ one day you will call it "rubble".

This Thanksgiving let Christians everywhere rejoice that they have a Rock to anchor all good things to and find our true happiness in His steadfastness. Happy Thanksgiving!

3 comments:

denimandroses said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, and God's Word. It made me think and examine, yet again. :-)
Love y'all,
Cindy Pye

denimandroses said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, and God's Word. It made me think and examine, yet again. :-)
Love y'all,
Cindy Pye

denimandroses said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, and God's Word. It made me think and examine, yet again. :-)
Love y'all,
Cindy Pye