Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankfulness and Contentment this Thanksgiving

I am reminded again this day of how good God has been to me and my family. I am so undeserving of His grace and yet He has superabundantly lavished it upon me. I am commanded to “give thanks to the LORD for He is good” and my response, this morning, is “His love endures forever!”

We are commanded to be thankful for all things (cf. Phil 3:1; 4:6). Furthermore, we are to be “content” as well. Paul writes to Timothy saying:

1 Timothy 6:6-8 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

I am reminded of this prayer from the Valley of Vision entitled “Contentment”:

"Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.

When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin's tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day."

One of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns has been around since 1636, Now Thank We All our God:

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Praise God that He is near us and with us and in us because we are in Christ. What a marvelous blessing we as true, redeemed sinners have! What joy ought we to have bubbling in us everyday—especially today! Let us remember that today is a day when we can leave the “thankful façade” at home and allow the unshakable joy and deep-rooted contentment—that only comes from knowing our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s sacrifice and death in our place at Calvary’s cross—emanate from us as we gather with friends and family today.

Soli Deo Gloria.


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