It is Thanksgiving week here in the United States. Throughout my life, it has been a time when family gathered together for fellowship and good food. We always took time to express our gratitude for all that God had done for us. I have many fond memories of those times that I got to share with family and friends.
For many people, Thanksgiving is going to be very different this year. Of course, one could say that everything has been different in 2020; so why should Thanksgiving be the same. Who would have ever thought that government officials would try to ban families from traveling and being together on Thanksgiving Day.
Even though the world we live in has been turned upside down and life as we have known it seems a distant memory, there is much to be thankful for. We are going to be gathering together as a family. It will be the first time in almost 5 years that we will have all six of our grandchildren with us to share in some mighty fine eating.
My oldest son and his son will join me for our annual golf outing that we have done every Thanksgiving Day morning. Our scores are never very impressive but the laughter and times looking for a wayward shot are worth being together even when the weather has been windy and cold.
As I have been getting ready for Thanksgiving 2020, I have been reminded about how good God has been, is and will be forever. Yes, I can find a lot of things to be frustrated with. I find myself easily complaining about Covid restrictions, political bickering, disruptions to my schedule and cancelations of several engagements.
There is one topic in Scripture that has captured much of my thinking over the past few weeks. It is the topic of contentment. I will probably share more on this in future blogs, but, for now, I want to share a couple of truths that have put everything that is going on in this crazy, fallen world into its proper perspective.
In Hebrews, we find these words.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV)
At a time when we are supposed to be thankful, it is so easy to be covetous instead. It is natural to wish we could get back to normal and not have to wear a mask whenever we enter a building. (As a side note, I find it fascinating that the Covid virus hovers at restaurant doors so a mask is required. However, the virus disappears once you get to a table so you can take it off.)
The writer of Hebrews says that we should live without covetousness. I know most of the time we equate this with money or possessions. However, we can live a life of covetousness when we wish our candidate for some office would’ve won, we want to go to church again and give fellow believers a good handshake or hug, or want the freedom to go back to school or work. Covetousness is simply wanting something that we don’t have more than being thankful for what we have been graciously given.
The key to being free of covetousness is learning to be content. Again, look at these verses in Hebrew. You and I are told to be content with what we have! You might be thinking but I have lost so much and I have so little how can I be content?
No matter what you and I are facing today, we have something that we can never lose and, therefore, we can be content. What do we possess that we can never lose and, therefore, be content? It is God, Himself!
God promises us that He will never leave you or me and will never forsake us! God has promised us His eternal presence no matter what comes our way.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5 (NKJV)When we realize that God will never leave nor forsake us, it always results in us not being afraid but being courageous and strong. And we all know that we need some courage in order to live in today’s world. When I know that God is with me, I am not afraid of what man might do to me. Why? Because God is there to be my helper and, with Him helping me, what can man do to me?
I don’t know what you are facing this Thanksgiving. I understand that we have gone through a lot in 2020. Many of our plans have been completely blown up. It may seem hopeless and we don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
However, I want to encourage you to take some time and reflect back over this year. When you do, look to see how God was with you and helped you get through everything you faced (it could’ve been worse). Even if I had lost everything I once had in this world, I am content with what I haven’t lost and never will — God’s presence and help! For this I am eternally thankful.