Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
I recently hosted a radio program on the topic of Thanksgiving. I decided to go it alone and list the Top Five things for which I am thankful. I did that under five categories and listed them in reverse order of their importance. I am thankful for…
- Things I can taste, smell, touch, see, and hear.
- Freedoms and blessings we enjoy in these United States of America
- Family of believers – brothers and sisters in Christ
- Family, wife, children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews
- The goodness, love, and grace of God shown in Jesus Christ.
I’ll start with #5 today and work through them this week for my blog posts. I hope you will find it edifying.
There are some who falsely eschew being thankful for physical blessings such as food, perfume, a kind caress, a beautiful work of art, or the happy chuckle of children playing. A false piety dismisses these things as too worldly and unimportant. But such is the false teaching of the Gnostics. They believed that anything of this world is evil, and that only the things of the spiritual realm are good. For that reason they denied that God became a true man, for then he would have participated in the physical realm and become evil by such participation.
But Jesus was a real man. He was thankful when he saw people being fed (Matthew 14:13-21). He was thankful when he heard the thief on the cross say, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42-43). He was thankful when he was able to take the children in his arms and put his hands on them and bless them (Mark 10:13-16). He gave thanks when he took the cup at the Last Supper and drank the wine and ate the Passover meal with his disciples (Luke 22:14-23). We don’t have a direct reference for Jesus smelling anything, but surely the smells of the meal with Mary and Martha delighted him (Luke 10:38-42).
My list includes the taste of pecan pie, the sight of a sunrise over the ocean, a rose’s smell, the kind touch of my wife when I’m not feeling well, and the smell of turkey in the oven. What would be on your list? If you can’t think of many things, consider this from Martin Luther’s explanation to the first article of the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals, and all I have [emphasis added]. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
This is most certainly true.
Or this from Luther’s explanation to the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer
Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
While these physical blessings are least important in my Top Five List of thanksgiving blessings, they do come from God. And it is fitting that we give God thanks for them all. Or as Luther says, “For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.“