Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries International (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.
Turkey Day approaches, and I don’t know about you…but I am planning on overstuffing my face with loads of the other other white meat, mashed potatoes, and delicious stuffing that is made of things I probably don’t want to look into closely. And yes…the gravy. Actually for me I believe all the food I pile on the plate like football players on a fumble is just an excuse for the boatload of yummy-licious brown substance that can and will be devoured. Sometimes I think my family should just load up the back of a dump truck with my food so I can just open my mouth and get it all at once. Then, after the Thanksgiving meal comes the post-feast nap. With the amount of turkey I’m putting away, I should wake up just a few days before Christmas. Only in America would we invent a holiday amazing enough to include mass consumption, football, friends, family, and a few days off of school and work – right? But in all the turkey glaze and pumpkin pie haze, don’t miss the biggest thing of all. Thanksgiving, as it turns out, is about giving thanks. You get it, right? Thanks-giving = giving-thanks. And the interesting part is that we didn’t invent the idea of being thankful and blown away by the amazing blessings we all enjoy. Sure we invented the official day, but nearly 2000 years ago a Christ follower named Paul penned this command which is straight from the mouth of God: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). OK so, most of us give thanks now and then – especially when things are going well. But can you imagine being thankful in every circumstance? Think about it – the ability to have gratitude on the inside no matter what is going on with your outside circumstances. That is what Paul says is ‘God’s will’ for your life. You might be thinking – ‘well, Paul could do that because his life was going well at the time.’ The thing is – here is what Paul tells us about his circumstances: Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not (2 Corinthians 11:24-26) In other words, Paul’s life was about as bad as you can image, yet every day he was thankful because of something that couldn’t be taken away from him. And if you’re a follower of Christ, it can’t be taken away from you either. The free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ gives you eternal life and a relationship with the God who loves you and died for you. So no matter what happens to you, there is an amazing truth that even in the darkest times can light your way and allow you to be thankful. God’s love will never be taken away from you – which is something we should never stop being thankful for. Let this promise soak into your soul: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). The early American settlers held the first thanksgiving because their lives had been saved from what seemed like certain destruction – and they were thankful. Believers in Jesus Christ should see every day as thanksgiving, because we have been saved from what truly was going to be our eternal destruction. Happy Thanksgiving my brothers and sisters! Head: Believers in Jesus Christ can be thankful each and every day because of the gift of salvation we have received. Heart: Feel incredibly thankful no matter what the circumstances. Hands: During your time off, make a list of things and people in your life that make you thankful. You may be surprised how big the list can get!