For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reasons to Be Thankful

This is of course the time of year we set aside for an official recognition of our need to give thanks. Our founding fathers recognized this need; repeatedly stated this need; and regularly set aside days for us to gather in the presence of God and fulfill this need. It’s a day to thank God. Not just general thanks. After all, who or what are we expressing thanks to apart from our Sovereign King?

So what is there to be thankful for? The economy stinks; the government is out of control; etc, etc. Personally, I can think of many things to be thankful for in spite of all that.

I am thankful most of all for the grace God has poured out into my life. None of us deserve His mercy and love, but there are many times when I think I’m even less deserving than most. Giving His Son for me seems like such a foolish exchange, but just goes to prove the extravagance of His love and grace. If I had nothing else, I would be thankful.

But above that, God has given me a beautiful, godly wife; a faithful partner in life and ministry; someone who loves me, supports me, encourages me, and generally puts up with my whiny nature much more often than she should.

He has blessed us with four wonderful children, in each of whom we see the hand of God at work. I couldn’t be more proud to be related to any four people in the universe.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve Him; for the church family He has blessed us with; and for reminding us of His grace as a body on a regular basis.

God has given me parents who love me (most of the time) and have been more than gracious to me despite the many trials I’ve put them through.

Our family has a roof over our head, food in our ample bellies (well, mine is ample anyway!), and more than we need or deserve in this life.

So what’s not to be thankful for?

Here are some fine words from the greatest preacher of all time, C. H. Spurgeon. In September of 1863 he delivered these words at London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle on a day set aside for giving thanks. Consider these wise words based on a message from Psalm 65:11 - “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.”

All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, his mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave off shining, but our God will never cease to cheer his children with his love. Like a river his lovingkindness is always flowing, with a fullness inexhaustible as his own nature, which is its source. Like the atmosphere which always surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all his creatures; in it, as in their element they live, and move, and have their being.

Yet as the sun on summer days appears to gladden us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen with the rain, and as the atmosphere itself on occasions is fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God: it hath its golden hours, its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifieth his grace and lifteth high his love before the sons of men. If we begin with the blessings of the nether springs, we must not forget that for the race of man the joyous days of harvest are a special season of excessive favor. It is the glory of autumn that the ripe gifts of providence are then abundantly bestowed; it is the mellow season of realization, whereas all before was but hope and expectation. Great is the joy of harvest. Happy are the reapers who fill their arms with the liberality of heaven. The Psalmist tells us that the harvest is the crowning of the year. . .

We may forget the harvest, living as we do, so far from rural labors, but those who have to watch the corn as it springs up, and track it through all its numberless dangers, until the blade becomes the full corn in the ear, cannot, surely, forget the wonderful goodness and mercy of God when they see the harvest safely stored. My brethren, if we require any considerations to excite us to gratitude, let us think for a moment of the effect upon our country of a total failure of the crops. Suppose to-day it were reported that as yet the corn was not carried, that the continued showers had made it sprout and grow till there was no hope of its being of any further use, and that it might as well be left in the fields. What dismay would that message carry into every cottage! Who among us could contemplate the future without dismay? All faces would gather blackness. All classes would sorrow, and even the throne itself might fitly be covered with sackcloth at the news. . . My brethren, should we not rejoice that this is not our case, and that our happy land rejoices in plenty? If the plant had utterly failed, and the seed had rotted under the clods, we should have been quick enough to murmur; how is it that we are so slow to praise?

Take a lower view of the matter, suppose even a partial scarcity; at this juncture, when one arm of our industry is paralysed, how serious would have been this calamity! With a staple commodity withdrawn from us, with the daily peril of war at our gates, it would have been a fearful trial to have suffered scarcity of bread. Shall we not bless and praise our covenant God who permits not the appointed weeks of harvest to fail? Sing together all ye to whom bread is the staff of life, and rejoice before him who loadeth you with benefits. We have none of us any adequate idea of the amount of happiness conferred upon a nation by a luxuriant crop. Every man in the land is the richer for it. To the poor man the difference is of the utmost importance.

I would I had this morning the tongue of the eloquent, or even my own usual strength, to excite you to gratitude, by the spectacle of the multitudes of beings whom God has made happy by the fruit of the field. My sickness to-day, makes my thoughts wander and unfits me for so noble a theme, yet my soul pants to set your hearts on a blaze. O for heaven’s own fire to kindle your hearts.

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us exalt the Lord our God, and come into his presence with the voice of joy and thanksgiving.

Amen, and amen!

Happy Thanksgiving and to God Be The Glory!

4 comments:

Becky said...

What a great sermon by Spurgeon!

Thanks for sharing.

May you and you family have a most blessed week!

Scott said...

Wish I had half of his eloquence! However, I guess that's envy and sin.

Thanks for the holiday wishes, Miss, Becky, and may God richly bless you and yours as well.

Gregg said...

Great post Scott! I too think it was a great word from Spurgeon, and your thoughts were excellent also.

Gregg said...

Happy Thanksgiving Brother to you and yours!