So, thought would lead us all to believe that based on the timing of year and season, it’d be time for me to write a lesson about Thanksgiving. Well, I would agree – BUT – I feel that you’re typical “Thank God for what you have every day, not just Thanksgiving” type lesson is not what I am aiming for. I am going to spin this a little bit differently. I guess you could say I am going to lay out a little bit of perspective on what we are “thankful” for. Let’s jump into our scripture and, as always, go from there. The scripture is from Philippians 4:4 – 7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
A lot of people use this scripture to preach the so-called “Fortune Gospel”. Saying that based on this scripture you can ask for anything and God will give it to you if you live the right kind of life. While it is very true that we should ask God for whatever it is we need in prayer, and EXPECT it to happen, that doesn’t mean we can expect earthly riches. I personally, have seen healing happen, and I have seen the things that I need “magically line up” but I don’t live in a mansion, nor do I own fancy cars or have “money to burn”.Want proof? No problem. It would be safe to say that the apostles, that is the original disciples of Christ, would have had extremely wealthy lives based on what they did for God, what they did for Christ himself on this earth right? Well lets recap:
Peter, the rock, the main dude, Jesus’ right hand man – he was crucified, upside down, at his own request, during the persecutions of Emperor Nero. He said he was not fit to die in the same way as Christ himself did. To give you a little fun piece of info, the upside down cross that people that are against Christianity use when they think they are “Blaspheming God” or disrespecting Christ, it’s called the cross of St.Peter. News flash all you gothed out Black Metal kids, you are actually paying tribute to St. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and the guy most believe to have been the first Pope.
Andrew, Peter’s brother – also crucified – Spread Eagle.
James – Beheaded
Bartholomew – Skinned alive and Beheaded
Thomas aka “Doubting Thomas” – speared to death
Simon – hacked to death
Paul, our dude from Tarsis – Beheaded.
All the rest say they were martyred, just doest go into detail, but hey is execution ever fun? One exception is John. He died of natural causes, but only after being banished to a deserted island. Sounds like a lot of fun eh? All this simply because they chose to follow Christ. So, what does ANY of this have to do with Thanksgiving? Despite what we go through here on this earth, good or bad, we have nothing but good waiting for us in the place that Christ went to prepare for us. We should ALWAYS be “thankful” for that. Now, I’m not saying that you’re gonna die for following Christ. You may get teased, or even beaten up at the worst, but martyred is a bit of a stretch, but remember all the same that martyr means “witness”. What I am saying, though, is that when God does see it fit that you receive the blessing of a move on the up here in your earthly world, “thankful” is a bit of an understatement for how you need to feel. Your prayer should not be full of “thanksgiving” it should be full of everlasting praise to the Lord that has provided you infinitely more than that extra 20 bucks in your pocket.