“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High.” — Psalm 50:14
In a few days’ time, Thanksgiving – a holiday rooted in English traditions, the Protestant Reformation and the Puritans – will be celebrated in the United States. To an enemy of God, antagonistic to His existence and influence, the celebration on the North American continent that dates back to the early 1620s, has little meaning and value, other than as an opportunity for self-fulfilled celebration, which can also take place in the face of giving. For the Christian, however, how great a significance it can have in respect to God’s wholeness and all-sufficient power and provision. To those who deny God, or are hostile to His acquaintance, the celebration is fragmented and incomplete. Why is this said? For to provide true thanksgiving, what does it entail? God is our provider of all things, therefore, a thankfulness for a bountiful harvest or the provision of worldly possessions alone, remains shallow. Add to that a thankfulness for health and there is no greater plummeting of the depths of true understanding. It remains superficial, for it focuses on one’s self. Oh, there is thankfulness, but it remains flesh-bound. The words of thankfulness reach no greater ear than that of a fellow human, they reach no greater depth than the heart of a loved one, and the thankfulness glides on the slippery ice sheet covering the river of provision, for it comes from a heart that is not nourished by the true and living waters that flow beneath.
For the Christian, however, the greatest provision is that of salvation; and for the greatest provision, it is not irresponsible or irrational that there should be the greatest thanks. Truly, to sit down at the banqueting feast of a Thanksgiving table is blissful joy indeed, and thankfulness can flow, but with the additional understanding that it accompanies a life saved from the wilderness, the heart can glow. God is all encompassing and all providing: food, raiment, health and well-being; and above all, the provision of reconciliation to Him. Reader, if you be one that at this hour remains resistant to God, would that you call out to the Son to melt that ice sheet covering your heart that prevents you from filling your crystal-cut glasses with the life-giving water from the stream of His provision, and your tureens with the life-giving fruit from the Tree of Life. Seek the Lord that you may be reconciled to Him, and sit down to a banqueting table with a heart that exudes gratitude and thankfulness to the living God for His all-surpassing provision of grace and mercy. With this dimension attached, although there may be troubles and hard times, and there may be difficulties and trials, there will always be something to give God thanks for.
There can be more thanks to God in the heart of a saint who has nothing more than a bowl housing a lone apple and a tin mug containing a sip of water, than in the heart of a heathen blessed with a table laden with choice food. For the day will come when the saint will feast at Christ’s royal table, but the outcast heathen will suck on the dry bones of remembrance and remorse forever. Saint, if you celebrate Thanksgiving, may it be first and foremost for the harvest of your soul by the sickle of God’s mercy and grace, and then for His all-encompassing provision. Do you know that you cannot actually give any physical possession to God, for He owns it all? He owns all the silver and gold; He owns all the cattle on a thousand hills, so what can you honour Him with; what can you give to Him? Thanksgiving! Along with a sanctified life, worship and praise, thanksgiving is a most rare and valuable asset that you can give to your Lord, which He does not own. Know also the words recorded at the end of the 50th psalm: “Whoso offereth praise (thanksgiving) glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”