Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts

From Deuteronomy 8:10-18 (emphasis, where added, mine):
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws, and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."
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As do so many passages in the Bible, this section from Deuteronomy rather speaks for itself. Addressing the Hebrews who had been wandering in the desert, it tells them that they need to remember to give thanks to the God who brought them to where they are, and warns of the dangers of not doing so. Forgetting to give credit and gratitude where it is due is dangerous to us as individuals, and to us as a society. Saying "thank you" is one of the first things we learn to say when our parents are teaching us manners. So why do we always forget to do so as adults, especially when it most matters? Giving thanks to God is not something that is intended to be limited to some Thursday in November. It is something that is meant to happen every day of our lives, in part because it is the right thing to do and in part because it helps to give us perspective. When we start thinking that it was us who earned our bounty, we start to lose sight of the people who, though they may work hard, have not made it quite as high as we have. There are many societal ramifications to that which I will not go into right now (I would encourage reading Rev. Mark Schaefer's sermon on the related topic of consumerism, "Our Power and Might," for anyone who is interested). For now, I will simply say this. Tomorrow, in between "gobbling 'til you're wobbling," say a little prayer-- for those you love, for those who struggle, for the grace of the God who gives you all the people and all the wealth in your life. Then repeat-- daily if possible. Praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

You're back! And in light of your post, thank you for the comment.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.