|Photo by: Evgeny Dinev|
At Thanksgiving, we are naturally looking for things to be grateful for. (Isn’t that crazy in itself? As if we needed to look for them!) We’re more conscious of our family blessings—parents, children, grandchildren, grandparents, and extended family. We think about our material blessings—shelter, food, clothing, and transportation. We might even have in mind spiritual blessings—salvation, the Bible, the Spirit’s working in our lives, growth over the last year, our church family, and our pastor’s leadership.
I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving “backwards.” It’s about the blessings we have because of God Himself. Let me share some of this backwards Thanksgiving thinking with you.
1. Creation—From Genesis 1:1 on, the Bible proclaims the fact that God created the earth and everything on it. He made the stars, sun, and moon and hung them in space. He made plants, animals, fish, and birds. Everything was created because God would make a man and a woman and put them on the earth.
God planned all of creation for the benefit of the human race. Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded (Isaiah 45:11-12).
God planned every human being, too. The psalmist David said, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works (Psalm 139:14a).
Did you know that the whole creation gives God praise? Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted (Isaiah 49:13). The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12b).
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD (Psalm 150:6).
2. Everything is God’s—The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).
Since everything in the world already belongs to God, we are only borrowing or using what is His. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7) The truth is, we don’t have anything that’s not a gift from God. And, anything we own is really God’s too. When we use what we have—money, talent, goods—we’re using something God has entrusted to our use . . . which leads us to the next reason to be thankful:
3. We are stewards—Stewardship means taking care of something that belongs to another. Since everything is God’s, anything we touch, anything we work with, anything we enjoy is His. From the first man, Adam, God gave people the responsibility to wisely take care of the earth, to manage it well, and to work hard. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
God wants us to be faithful, too. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). The word required used here means “sought for, expected.” God expects, is looking for us to be faithful. What a privilege! We get to collaborate with God in His work!
4. We get to let God use us—This is perhaps one of the most humbling facts of the Christian life: that God would use people. Why in the world would our infinite, all-powerful God choose to use lousy, good-for-nothing sinners like us? I don’t know, unless it’s another outpouring of His mercy. One of my favorite passages on this topic is this one: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).
Don’t you love how that passage ends? He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. That’s the message of Thanksgiving.
It’s not about us being thankful. It’s about God being great!
Let’s worship Him.
While I live will I praise the LORD:
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.