BY ZACH PROSSER
A Thankful Living
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15, ESV
In just a few days, many will be commemorating Thanksgiving. Many will be with family, preparing Thanksgiving meals, enjoying Thanksgiving football games, and more.
The original Thanksgiving celebration reminds us of the triumph that comes through tragedy and true thankfulness that is produced in times of testing. Here’s a quote from Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrims at Plymouth who chronicled the first Thanksgiving celebration (written in modern translation):
“Our corn did prove well, and, God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good… Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week…many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted…And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
In a time when nearly half of those who traveled to this new land for religious freedom did not survive the journey, yet genuine thankfulness to God can be heard from those who survived and enjoyed His provision. When death and contagious diseases were rampant amongst the Pilgrims, thankfulness for the genuine freedom they had found brought hope of this new life.
Likewise, as believers, we have a freedom that comes in Christ. Romans 8:32 describes this incredible and inexpressible gift given to us: More than earthly provision and sustenance, even though these necessities He provides, but “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Whatever circumstances this season may bring in life, our genuine hope is founded on the freedom that comes in Christ. Words cannot begin to describe the magnitude and overwhelming nature of the gift of Christ given for our ransom and new life. The more we meditate on and enjoy this heavenly gift, the more inexpressible He becomes and our natural affairs become more limited. Like the Pilgrims, our lives truly become a journey from this life to the next in this enjoyment of our heavenly gift. Our focus is no longer on temporary sufferings, but only on eternal bliss (2 Cor 4:18).
Allow a life of thankfulness to be produced as you fix your eyes on your inexpressible gift: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” (Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)