This past Sunday, I had the privilege of leading our small church in a Thanksgiving service that truly edified my heart. My sermon was entitled, “The Three Tenses of Thanksgiving” based out of Psalm 66:4-9.
Whether this great hymn was used at the exodus of Egypt or the return from Babylonian Captivity doesn’t affect the significance of the exhortation to praise the Lord for the past, present, and future. Every day should be a day of giving thanks to God for who he is, what he has done, and what he has promised to do. Some Christians live life as a lemon, and that’s ok if your last name is Lemon, but our lives should be reflective of God’s goodness rather than our perceived misery.
One particular joy I received out of the message is the truth that God’s deeds are awesome towards the children of men. This is not simply Israel. The Psalmist could have easily used just “Israel,” but that is not what we find in verse 5 because God’s awesomeness was displayed to the Egyptians in the exodus and the Babylonians in the return. God’s awesomeness is viewable by all men! Here is where it gets exciting. The first Messianic promise of Genesis 3:15 is not simply a promise to Eve or Israel, but rather to all humanity. I am not trivializing the Abraham Covenant of Genesis 12, but Genesis 3:15 is not only to the line of Abraham. God’s deeds are awesome to me! This makes Thanksgiving Day very personal.
When it comes to seeing the awesomeness of God, all men are without excuse. The famous preacher Harry Ironside was dining in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.”
The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!”
Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”
Friend, we have so much to be thankful for. God is awesome, and his awesome works are displayed against the backdrop of all time and space just for you. Have your fill of turkey and stuffing, but don’t forget that we should come and see the awesome works of God to all the children of men. Every day should be a day of giving thanks to God for who he is, what he has done, and what he has promised to do.