WEEKLY DEVOTION: SKIPPING THANKSGIVING

WEEKLY DEVOTION: SKIPPING THANKSGIVING

Skipping Thanksgiving 

 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:2).

 

Many reasons can be found for skipping Thanksgiving. At the head of the list are the labels Entitlement and Rejection.

 

We are not prone to thank someone for what we believe we are entitled to anyway. We are not inclined to thank someone for something we do not want.

 

We are not talking about the cop or the soldier or the nurse who must work an extra shift on that national holiday. They may say, “I didn’t get a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.” That does not necessarily mean they spend their lives skipping the giving of thanks.

 

Entitlement is a big issue for those who for so long have received so much. We begin to feel that we have a right to certain blessings because we have always had them.

Freedom is a good example. Most Americans have never lived a day under the control of a foreign force. Ask any POW about that. The loss of a blessing sharpens our value of it. Returning POWs have not kissed American soil just for show.

 

We are not entitled to any blessing. Each one is a gift undeserved. Good food, good family, good friends, good health, good education—all gifts of a good God.

 

…and forget not all his benefits.

 

Rejection happens more often than we might think. Some blessings we do not want. We tend to value something according to how it makes us feel. If it makes us feel happy and safe, it must be to our benefit. If it causes pain or fear—well, that’s not a good thing.

 

Years ago, a pastor wrote a book titled, “Thank God for my Breakdown!” He explained that despite the anguish it brought into his life, his mental breakdown ended up being one of the best things that could have happened to him. It made him re-evaluate his life. It drove him to his knees in prayer. It caused him to understand the depth of the words he had often spoken in worship, “My help is in the name of the Lord.”

 

He ended up being much more able to minister to people who were in mental stress.

 

…and forget not all his benefits.

 

No matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in this Thanksgiving; no matter if we can gather with family over roasted turkey, or must huddle with comrades over cold MREs; no matter if we still have all our arms and legs—or not; we are blessed beyond measure. We cannot deny that.

 

Surely we would not forget the peace we have with God because of the sacrifice his Son made for us. Surely we would forget how he has guided and guarded us through life. Surely we would not forget the inheritance in glory that is waiting for us.

 

Surely, we will not skip Thanksgiving.

 

We pray:

O almighty and everlasting God, who has given us what we needed year after year, and has crowned our time on life with your goodness, give us grateful hearts that we might thank you with all sincerity for all your loving-kindness—and magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain

and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida

Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military