The top news yesterday was a senseless act of evil in Chicago. The media pushed into our lives is a constant stream that reminds us that we live in a broken world. We are bombarded with the consequences of anger and of selfishness. If we are not careful, the noise in our lives can cause us to forget that God is always good and we enjoy His blessings in our lives each day.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a wonderful time but, like most holidays, it is a time filled with stress that often results in conflict. I have felt the stress of other preparing for the big meal on Thursday. There are others that are not looking forward to the inevitable tension when the family gets together. It is easy to forget that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of celebrating God’s goodness to us.
God’s blessings in our lives are a cause worthy of celebration! The Psalmist put it this way ““Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4) The psalmist is encouraging God’s people to celebrate God’s goodness to them. The context alludes to the focus of their time at the temple. This is more than likely speaking of the sojourn to Jerusalem for one of the few appointed feasts, much like our Thanksgiving celebration. The feasts, while serving different focuses, were for the purpose of bringing the people together to be reminded of God’s goodness to them.
Our “Psalm for Giving Thanks” gives us three reasons for the call for celebration. We read, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5) First “the Lord is good.” I am reminded of a line from a favorite song, “God is good all the time!” (Go ahead and repeat that line a couple times!) This is something that we need to reflect upon daily and especially at Thanksgiving. I want you to take a moment to stop and think of all the blessings that you enjoy in life from your health, to your family, to your church, to your nation and yes even that ability to eat the desserts on the counter. All of these blessings remind us of God’s goodness to you. Second, we are reminded of his “steadfast love.” We know all too well that people will let us down but not God. He can be counted on. One of the many blessings of being born again is that you are a child of God. The adoption into His family gives you access to all the rights and privileges of being His kid. And one of them is, God has your back! And third, God has a plan and is working it out. It is hard to see it at times and especially in a world that is filled with evil. Yet He reminds us that He is seated on His throne and completely in control. This means that His goodness is not just for you but for your children and your grandchildren.
I hope that you will take some time this Thanksgiving to encourage your family to share what they are Thankful for. I would also encourage you to read a passage like Psalm 100 before you “Give Thanks!”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson