Over the past week I’ve received and issued a lot of wishes
for a “Happy Thanksgiving”. It’s just what people do this time of year. If they
are connected to the transportation industry as I am, they may wish you a “Safe
and Happy Thanksgiving”. Some who never miss an opportunity to express
their faith, or just want to assure you or themselves that they actually have
faith, will wish you a Blessed Thanksgiving.
Most of us would gladly sign up for a Blessed Thanksgiving
or just a Blessed Day anytime we can get it.
But be careful what you wish for. In Matthew’s Gospel he reports what
Jesus said about being blessed. Jesus
says we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, are meek, hunger
and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and when
we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
But the world equates being blessed with being happy. And being happy means having our physical and
emotional needs and desires satisfied. So
don’t be sad, find your happy place. Dry
your eyes, don’t cry. You be you. Be
loud, be proud. No justice, no peace. Follow your heart as long as you are on the
right side of the culture war. And persecution
only matters if it’s based on race, ethnicity, gender, physical appearance, political affiliation or
We live in a broken world turned upside down. We are most
thankful for those things which make us feel good and are primarily related to pleasure
and comfort. We think more about material blessings than we do about spiritual
blessings. We tend to even measure our spiritual well-being in terms of our material
blessings. Look how much stuff I possess. I must be doing more things right than
wrong, so the Lord is blessing me with lots of good stuff. I better give thanks…and
really mean it. This is a great life. And when life is not so great, we petition
God to fix it…and maybe even forgive us now and then. We just want to get back
to having a great life now.
No, that’s not the promise. It’s possible. But it’s not
promised and it’s not earned. In the end, it’s really not even all that important.
And it may even be a hindrance. It’s not wrong to thank God for material
blessings. But these are all temporary. The material world is not only broken
but it is dying. Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven. And be thankful when you
Thanksgiving ought to be a time for reflection and
repentance. A time for commitment to use whatever God has given us for his
glory and his purposes, not just for our own personal pleasure. But most of us
will be more committed to finding the perfect Christmas gift or planning the best
party or just enjoying the holiday season. It’s what people are inclined to do
in the midst of brokenness.
"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:17