God Is Worthy of Our Gratitude
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalm 107:1)
Thanksgiving might be your favorite holiday. Many American children love everything to do with Thanksgiving. Maybe when you think of Thanksgiving, you think of a banquet – turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar on top, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh-baked dinner rolls and various vegetables. Of course, there are the pies, ice cream, and other desserts. Maybe you love the tradition of getting together with family and friends. Perhaps your loved ones come from a long way away to spend the holiday with you. Many families think of Thanksgiving as a time to play games, remember the past, play out-side and just enjoy being together again. For you, Thanksgiving might bring back many memories – good memories.
More than anything else, the observation of the Thanksgiving holiday ought to remind us of the God the pilgrims came to America to worship. These people left everything they knew and moved their families thousands of miles so that they could worship God the way they believed the Bible teaches. They were treated badly in their homelands because they would not give in to the way everyone else had decided religion should be done. They wanted to teach their children according to the doctrines of the Bible. They wanted to trust and obey God and His Word over the opinions of men and women. So they risked their lives to cross the ocean and come to America. God was that important to them.
Not everything went well once they reached America, either. There were difficulties they could never have imagined. Some of the natives were hostile and fought against them. The winters were very harsh, and sickness took some of their lives. But God, in His great kindness, provided for them. He provided relationships with some kind natives who helped them. They helped the pilgrims understand how to farm and taught them how to get along in this world that was so new to them. Surely, in many other ways God provided for them. The pilgrims were thankful for all these things.
All of us have many things for which we can be thankful. But it is God Himself Who ought to cause us to feel most grateful. He is the Giver of so many of our gifts. But we ought to love and praise the Giver more than we love and praise the gifts He has given us. God chose to be good to us and provide good things for us. He did so because He Himself is good. Even when we are not as good as we should be, God is still good. And all that is good comes from God. That’s what we are told in God’s Word, the Bible that the pilgrims held in such high honor. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
This Thanksgiving – and every day! – remember all the good things God has given you and your family. And remember what the psalmist did: "give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good!"
God is worthy of our thanks because He Himself is perfectly good and gives such good gifts.
» Do I have a thankful heart every day?
» What am I most grateful to God for in my life?
» How can I show every day that God's goodness and greatness are worth my praise?
Truth In Real Life
“I will cling to Christ like a burr on a topcoat.”
Katherina von Bora was born in Germany on January 29, 1499. With a name that would have befitted a queen or a baroness perhaps, Katherina – or “Katie” as she would be called – would become a very important woman at least to one man (her husband Martin Luther), and she would influence her children and many others, creating a God-glorifying ripple effect on Christian history forever.
Katie’s mother died when she was a little girl, and her father quickly remarried, sending five-year-old Katie to live in the Roman Catholic Church. She was raised by the nuns – two of which were her aunts – and it was assumed that surely Katie would grow up to become a nun just like them. So she did! When Katie was 16 years old, she took the vows – or promises – of a nun.
The more Katie studied the Catholic religion, the more she wondered if she could really believe every part of it. Katie actually made plans with some of the other nuns to run away from the church, but she did not feel right about running. Running could bring a punishment of death. So the nuns created another plan.
The German monk Martin Luther was already growing popular for his reformed beliefs – for how he spoke up against the parts of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings that taught that salvation could be earned by good works or that deliverance and relief from judgment could be bought by purchasing candles or pieces of paper from Roman Catholic Church officials. Martin Luther was instead coming to believe from the Bible that salvation belonged to the Lord, that justified people are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Instead of sinners earning their own way to heaven, Jesus Christ died to save them and to offer grace and mercy by His own perfect life and perfect sacrificial death.
Martin Luther wanted to help monks and nuns who were changing their minds about Roman Catholic teachings. One day, just before Easter, a local fish seller arrived at a Catholic convent to deliver food to the nuns. It had been arranged for the fish seller to hide any nuns who wanted to escape in barrels the back of his fish wagon. This man helped the nuns escape. When they escaped, they went straight to find Martin Luther. He helped each of the nuns find marriages, homes, and jobs – each and every one of them... except Katie.
Martin Luther married Katie himself. She was a godly woman, a wife, a teacher, a nurse, a farmer, and a mother to ten children! She woke up every morning at 4am to get all of her work done and did not rest until it was finished.
Katie was a devoted disciple of Jesus and a diligent worker, among many other things. Do you do your best at what you do? Are you faithful to follow truth and committed to cling to Christ?
1 Thessalonians 4:11 – That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.