In just a few days it will be Thanksgiving Day. Most people have their travel plans made, menus are complete for the big day and some are lacing up their shoes for the sales on Black Friday. Still, others are enjoying the idea of having a few days away from the work place. Even some will spend the day alone, unable to travel, for various reasons, and to others it's just another day.
Whatever your situation, keep in mind the word "Thanksgiving." All too often we become entangled with everything except being thankful on this day especially. One of my favorite songs is "Count Your Blessings." The song says, count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Let me share with you three scriptures that deal with the word Thanksgiving.
1. Psalm 95:2 - "Let us come before Him with 'thanksgiving' in our hearts and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms."
2. Psalm 100:4 - "Enter into His gates with 'thanksgiving' and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name."
3. Philippians 4:6 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with 'thanksgiving' present your requests to God."
Within the lives of the writers of these passages we see times of despair and jubilance. The lesson learned for today is this, whatever is taking place in my life, may I always be living in a spirit of "thanksgiving."
The most simple definition of the word "thanksgiving" is the word itself, "giving thanks." Understanding that life has its peaks and valleys, let's journey into the scriptures to Luke 17:11-19. This account deals with 10 lepers who made their way to see Jesus. They stood a short distance away because of their leprosy and made their request for mercy. This resulted in being cured from their suffering. Jesus told them to go to the priest, just like the Law of Moses had prescribed, so they could go through all the cleansing duties that the priest would conduct. Verse 14 says, "they were cleansed." What a blessing for them, health restored, lives are changed, families reunited and the list of happiness grows. If the account ended right here it would be a happy ending; however, it doesn't. One of the former lepers came back; fell down on his face at Jesus' feet giving Him thanks. Although the other nine should have done the same thing, this Samaritan does the right thing.
The challenge for all of us is not only on Thanksgiving should we be thankful, but especially to remember to do the right thing, be thankful, every day.
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)