November 26, 2013

A Wonderful Way of Giving Thanks

By John Scully

On Thanksgiving Day most American families are thinking about the feast, football, and the end of the fall season. Visions of freshly carved turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie dance in our heads as the day approaches. Perhaps we watch the Macy´s morning parade from New York City or afternoon football with the Lions or Cowboys. Maybe even a family stroll on a crisp sunny day. It´s all part of the tradition.

The colonists started the whole thing when they celebrated a three day autumn feast in 1621, thankful for an abundant corn harvest. Over 200 years later, President Abe Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day holiday in 1863.

There may have been an era in our history when this day was a time to remember God´s provision, a time to pray, and a time to express thanks to Him. But those things are no longer a part of the tradition. Except, I think, in Christian families.

Maybe you celebrate Thanksgiving like I do in my family, where everyone shares something for which they are thankful. At times like this we are reminded of the well-known verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “. . . in everything give thanks; for this is God´s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

By faith, we thank God for the good times, and we thank Him for the tough times. Thankfulness is powerful–it´s tied to the very will of God for our lives.

Do you know what else thankfulness is tied to? As I recently discovered in 1 Chronicles 16:8, it´s tied to making God´s work known. “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.”

As a missionary worker with Christian Aid, I´m thankful to take part in making known His deeds, particularly those being done by native missionaries who are taking the gospel to places where the name of Christ has not been heard.

One way Christian Aid makes known the work of God is through Prayerline, our monthly prayer guide that features a unique prayer request from an overseas native missionary for every day of the month, 12 months a year. Prayerline is designed to keep you connected to God´s “deeds among the people,” and we hope it inspires thankfulness in your heart as you learn about the ways He´s moving in lives, communities, nations.

What a wonderful way to:

Enter Into His gates with thanksgiving,

Into His courts with praise;

Be thankful unto Him,

Bless His name.

--Psalm 100:4