Thanksgiving is officially here, and Faith Driven Consumer™ is excited to celebrate with our members and consider how we might be thankful for all the blessings we have in Christ. As Christians, we can draw from an infinite well of things to be thankful for. What God has done for us in creating, saving and adopting us as sons and daughters into the family of God is something we should be thankful for each and every day, not just during this holiday season. Furthermore, we live in a country of incredible privilege and opportunity and experience many blessings as citizens of this great nation. With that in mind, we are going to consider seven blessings we have, first and foremost, as Christians and also as Americans, and explore some ways to take full advantage of this occasion to be grateful and thankful.
Life. If you are reading this, then there is at least one thing you can be thankful for no matter what other struggles you may be enduring: life. Life is a miracle and a privilege. It comes directly from God, who the Scriptures describe as a God of life. We were made in the image of God, not to be furniture for the universe or robotic slaves to do the Creator’s bidding, but to truly live and experience nature and relationships with one another and with our Heavenly Father. Life is a blessing, but it’s a privilege we should use to turn around and praise God. As living image-bearers, we should use our lives and whatever health we’ve been blessed with, to worship God in thankfulness and gratitude for who He is and what He has done.
Family. One of the beautiful features of God’s design for creation is family. The family is the mechanism by which we fulfill the creation mandate to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. As such, we should take seriously the relationships we have with our family members and understand that we have the family we have because of God’s sovereign plan. That doesn’t mean that they are perfect or that we have to like them 24/7, but it does mean that God has placed them centrally in our lives and we should be thankful for the ways in which our families have supported us or been there for us when we needed help. This Thanksgiving we should put on a kingdom lens and see our families, not as the world does, but instead, as the blessing from the Lord that they are.
Church. While many of us have families we should be thankful for, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge those who don’t have family. Whether because of death, abandonment or estrangement, many feel they have no family to cling to, rely on, enjoy or be thankful for. Fortunately, coming to faith isn’t just about going to heaven when you die; it’s also about being adopted into the family of God, becoming a son or daughter of the King, and joining with all believers as the bride of Christ. The church, as imperfect as it may be, is fundamentally a community, or, a family, of adopted sons and daughters who represent the body and bride of Christ. And whether you are a someone who has a loving and supportive family or are someone who doesn’t have a biological family, as Christians, we can be grateful for our spiritual family. We can take comfort in the fact that this family is everlasting and that our Father in Heaven will never leave us or forsake us.
Freedom. Freedom is something that we too often take for granted. But it’s something that we should understand is very rare, historically speaking. Statistically, most humans who have ever lived on earth have experienced oppression in one form or other. Living in a society where we have the freedoms outlined in our Constitution is a privilege we have grown so accustomed to, that we easily take it for granted. But we need to realize just how rare it is to live in a country that protects and defends these liberties. Most of our ancestors did not enjoy these same freedoms. But how often do we consider the freedom that we have and express our thankfulness and our gratitude for the liberty we enjoy in this country? How often do we thank those who have served or remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve it? This week let’s commit to pause and consider the blessings of freedoms we have in the U.S. and cherish it for the privilege it is, and the price paid for it.
Wealth. This one might be hard to swallow because you may be reading this article and not considered wealthy by American standards. However, chances are you live on more than ten dollars a day. And if so, then that is more than about half of the people around the world. The truth is that if you aren’t experiencing extreme poverty, then as an American, you are wealthy by global and historical standards. This Thanksgiving we should resist the temptation to give into of a commercialism that’s designed to get us to think about all the things we don’t have. Instead, we should consider our quality of life, the comforts we enjoy, and the quantity of stuff we already have and give God thanks for all that He has provided for us. How much thanksgiving would actually occur if we every time we saw a Black Friday advertisement, we stopped to thank God for all the things we already have? Let’s find out!
Food. This one’s easy. If your family is anything like mine, then you’ll all gather around a feast this Thursday that could feed an army. When you take a look around at all the turkey, stuffing, ham, biscuits, potatoes and various pies, take the time to thank God for the means to purchase the abundance of food before you. We should make sure to give thanks before the meal, but also maintain a posture of gratitude throughout the day as we try and put ourselves in the shoes of those who can’t afford such abundance or don’t have access to such nutritious and diverse foods.
Hope. But if you are someone who finds it difficult to turn your heart and your mind towards thankfulness because of the trials and struggles you are facing… And if you read the list above and don’t find many of these blessings familiar and, therefore, can’t resonate with them because life hasn’t been full of earthly blessings and comforts, then fix your eyes on the cross and the resurrection. If you can only be thankful for one thing this holiday season, let it be gratitude for the hope that we have in the Christ’s work on the cross, His victory over death in the resurrection, and His promise of restoration and redemption in eternity. We are not promised happy, healthy and comfortable lives here on earth. But we, as followers of Christ, ARE promised an inheritance and a place at the table in eternity with Him – as sons and daughters of the King. May we be thankful for all of the things God has given to us and done for us. But this Thanksgiving season, let us be thankful, above all else, for the hope that we have in Christ.