I will never forget my 14 year old Thanksgiving Day. That day left an indelible imprint on my life. We lived in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. My cousins and I were traveling with my aunt to Seattle to celebrate the holiday with family. My aunt was always trying to turn our ridiculous banter into some kind of meaningful reflection and was up against a stiff wind of teenage cynicism and sarcasm. Trying her best to impact us with at least one serious thought she asked us all to participate with her by sharing one thing we were thankful for. Since I was mostly interested in getting laughs I said something ridiculous and got a few chuckles from my cousins. However, as I played the comic I remember deep inside a sinking feeling that my actions that day were not pleasing to God.
Later that night as we were wrapping up our Thanksgiving Day in Seattle a news flash came on the television about a train/car wreck in our little home town. In shock I listened as they told about the wreck and then about two brothers who died that day. Both of them were my friends and one of them my very best friend. As I was listening to the news my first thoughts turned toward the early day banter and my aunt’s attempts to teach us about thankfulness. The recognition of my ungrateful heart sunk in as I entered into grief and shock. I will never forget that day.
Years later I was reading Paul’s comments to the Romans when he wrote, “They did not worship God neither were they thankful.” In this passage Paul states that God gives these people over to reprobate minds. Recently Francis Chan reminded a group of business leaders to remember that God is holy and that we need to treat God as a holy God and not simply as a companion who we can trifle with. Our flippant attitudes toward God and God’s blessings reveal our lack of gratitude for all God has done for us.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for God’s grace and gifts in my life. He has blessed me beyond measure. I have much. I have a family that loves me. I have friends who care for me. I have a great place to live. I have a great job and I have ample resources. Most importantly, I have been given the gift of eternal life through the greatest sacrifice ever given; the crucified Jesus Christ. I am blessed!
Jesus reminded us that when we come to the table we should always give thanks. We are blessed and we should remind ourselves of this everyday and give God our wholehearted praise!
I will never forget Thanksgiving Day when I was 14 years old, it changed me forever.