Give Thanks

This blog is a reposting of the article that appeared in this months Bethel Focus newsletter. I hope that it is an encouragement to your soul this week. 

Take a moment and remember back to a favorite memory of sitting down around the table to enjoy a meal. As we approach the Thanksgiving season, perhaps many images flood your mind from years gone by. One of my favorite memories doesn’t involve Thanksgiving day proper but it was each week a meal offered in thanks to the Lord. It was not a steaming turkey that we enjoyed with all of the fixings but a simple tray of hotdogs covered in cheese, had weekly. Sunday nights at the Wilson home, Ruthanna’s family, was always a place for friends and family to gather. Often after attending an evening service whomever could come was invited to enjoy simple fair and fellowship. I particularly remember that devotions where always conducted by Ruthanna’s late father no matter how many were there, family or stranger. At the end of each devotion the family would say in unison, “Thank the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (KJV) This simple refrain was said each and every day, and Ruthanna will tell you that it helped to ingrain a grateful and thankful spirit in her and in others, no matter what in life was going on.

The refrain, “Thank the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever,” runs through many of the Psalms, including Psalm 118. This psalm was a remembrance for the people of Israel of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, truly a great time of need and visible experience of God’s good faithfulness to them. This psalm would have been sung by the Jews as they celebrated the Passover, that great feasting meal, remembering God’s sparing them from death by the blood of a lamb painted on their door frames.

But Psalm 118 is not just for the Jews to sing and remember by. As Christians we too can remember and celebrate our own deliverance from slavery, slavery to sin and death. We too have a meal, the Lord’s Supper by which we remember God’s wrath being satisfied, poured out on His Own Son Jesus Christ in our place on the Cross, the Lamb of God slain for us. This psalm also talks about the “stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” in verse 22. While the Jews could claim this as being true of them, being rejected by “the great empires of her day,” upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus would likewise claim these words about Himself, being rejected by His own people but exalted by God.  When we read the words, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever,” (NIV) we can remember the Lord’s tender and loving mercies to us through Jesus Christ. We can give thanks each time we are reminded that Christ’s blood was shed in our place, when we come to the Lord’s Table. In addition, each moment is an opportunity to give thanks and to be thankful. Each meal is a time to rehearse God’s goodness, mercy and love for us and to express thanksgiving.

The month of November is upon us with its coming cooler weather and explosions of color as the leaves change and fade from the trees; we have a national day of thanksgiving just over the horizon. How interesting it is that we need a national day declared to make us stop and give thanks. Perhaps in our busy lives we need to be “forced” to stop and sit and eat and give thanks. My hope through this simple remembrance is that we will take each opportunity given, each meal around a table with family and friends or even strangers, to pause and give thanks. If you know Christ today then, no matter what difficulties you face, whatever financial set-backs, relational struggles, physical ailments you are enduring, each meal can be a time to “give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever.“ Truly His love does indeed endure throughout all of eternity because of Jesus Christ! Give thanks today.