The prophet Habakkuk declared, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there be no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
In 1620, 102 Pilgrims sailed to this continent to build a new world where they could be free to worship God. Within a short time after they had landed on the shores of what would become Massachusetts, 56 had died due to a variety of hardships, including starvation, disease, and exposure to the unrelenting, bitterly cold winter weather. However, despite the difficulties and suffering they encountered, they did not give up. They persevered and continued trusting God, and in 1621, 46 Pilgrims and 91 Indians met to give thanks for the bountiful harvest and for the preservation of their crops. Though they had every reason to be concerned as to what the future might hold, they chose to be joyful and give thanks for the modest success they had enjoyed, and which they recognized as a blessing from God.
The circumstances which life presents to us are constantly changing, often dramatically so; one day the cupboard is full, the next we may struggle to put food on the table. One day we may exhibit the epitome of good health, the next day we may be informed of a serious illness. It is an unfortunate fact of life, but no one ever lives constantly on the mountain. We all will have our share of burdens to bear, and very often these will be thrust upon us by conditions which are beyond our control.
But one thing over which we do have control is our attitude. And as Habakkuk and the Pilgrims clearly demonstrate, one of the most important decisions we can make is to have an attitude of thankfulness. As Psalm 100:4 instructs us: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” We must choose to be thankful.
As a nation America is certainly experiencing some unsettling economic times. But God through his lovingkindness has been mighty good to all of us. And while there will certainly always be struggles which we must endure, God is obviously pleased when we establish an attitude of thanksgiving in our hearts. This Thanksgiving let’s pull some groans out of our prayers and shove in some halleluiah’s! Make a conscious choice to be thankful.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Col 2:6-7
See ya Sunday!