This Sunday, while driving to church with my wife and daughters, I started to look at the houses in the community in which we live. I’ve looked at the homes in our community before, but for some reason I was taking a closer look then in times past. Perhaps it’s because we’re getting a new garage door. Isn’t it funny how our attention can be drawn to something, when previously it seemed unimportant, but it’s now more relevance to us? I guess that’s what got me looking at all these houses.
What impacted me the most was how Jesus used this moment to cause me to reflect back on my childhood growing up in the inner-city of Rochester. I remembered as a child, I would on rare occasions ride my bicycle through the suburbs. I remembered seeing all the lovely homes and thinking, God these people living here must be rich. I thought to myself I would love to live in a neighborhood like this someday.
Well, Jesus pointed out to me that that day had come. “Are you rich?” Is the question that came to my spirit, “No!” I said, “Well, neither are they,” was what I felt The Lord speaking into my spirit, “You are only truly rich when you have a relationship with me.” Wow! My old perspective was shaken in a new and fresh way. As a child growing up in the inner city, I thought that owning your own home meant that you were rich. But now, thanks be to God, I see so differently what it truly means to be rich.
I started to think about this upcoming Thanksgivings and how much I have God to thank for. The Lord has given me a wife, children, health, a beautiful home and so much more. When I meditate on all that He has done for me there is never an excuse for me not to give praise. There is no greater lesson that mankind can learn than to be thankful to God for all that we are or will ever become. For apart from The Lord, we can do nothing.
THANKSGIVING: A HEART TRUSTING AND OBEYING GOD
In the passage of scripture below, Moses instructs God’s people on how they should conduct themselves. Moses wrote Deuteronomy over two thousand years ago and it is just as applicable now as it was then. Deuteronomy chapter eight, should prick your heart and give God’s people reason to be filled with thanks. I guarantee that once you read these verses with an open heart and an open mind, you’ll have no excuse for not being filled with Thanksgiving.
“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell.
Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good. “So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. Just as the LORD has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the LORD your God.
This portion of the Bible spoke volumes to me because it reminds me how important it is for all of us to take the time to reflect back on what Jesus has brought us through and brought us to. We must be careful not to forget the goodness of God. Or, we will soon forget what He has done for us and think that we, ourselves, have accomplished the good things in our life. Pride will soon set in and ungratefulness will not be far behind.
So this Thanksgiving season, I pray we all REMEMBER that all we have comes from The Lord. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7