Giving Thanks

 

 

The American Automobile Association reports that over 54 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s a 4.8 percent increase over last year, which is largely attributed to “higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president.

 

As Salem Radio News reported on Kinship Christian Radio last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90 or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12.

 

Likewise, leading economic indicators are up and unemployment is the lowest it has been since 1969. Interest rates are still low as is the rate of inflation. Poverty is on the decline. 

 

And, despite the way the media likes to portray it, most major measures of crime are down. 

 

We have much to be thankful for on many fronts. 

 

But, surprisingly, when Americans are asked what they are most grateful for with an opened-ended question that doesn’t ask them to name a “thing,”  almost none of the answers list any of the things above. Social media giant Twitter asked its users to complete the following sentence:

“I’m thankful for…”

And the results were:

  1. You
  2. Life
  3. People
  4. Family
  5. Everything
  6. Love
  7. Friends
  8. Everyone
  9. Today
  10. God

 

With the exception of “everything” (which is pretty all-encompassing) no one listed their possessions –or any material object for that matter.

 

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I had come to the conclusion that the treasures Jesus told us to store up for ourselves in heaven (Matthew 6:20) were the relationships we create, grow, and build while we live out our lives here on earth. We’re certainly not taking any of our earthly possessions with us when we go and the Bible says God uses gold to pave the streets in heaven, (Revelation 21:21) so I’m pretty sure even the best stuff we have here will be of little value in the eternal kingdom.

 

But I do firmly believe that we will know and recognize each other in our eternal home. I believe the relationships we forge here will be better and deeper and more real when we spend eternity with each other.

 

If you look at all of that travel we do for Thanksgiving, the purpose of the vast majority of it is to spend time with friends and family. All of our things and our material blessings are of little comparison to the value of the relationships in our lives. It has been said that no one lies on their death bed asking that their things be brought to them. 

 

That’s why we find so many verses in Scripture like these:

 

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12 (NIV)

 

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

 

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

 

…. he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– Ephesians 1:15

 

to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:5

 

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

 

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29

 

so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7

 

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:6

 

And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ Acts 3:25

 

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5

 

It’s abundantly clear that all who believe in Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior are all sons and daughters. All who believe have been brought into the same family. We share the same Father who has adopted us into the family of God by the death and resurrection of His Son out of His great love for us and to the praise of His glory!

 

We will all spend eternity together praising Him. We will all be gathered into one place sharing a richness and a celebration of life and love that never ends. We will finally be united with each other and with Him as He intended from the beginning. The treasures we will revel in and celebrate will be the eternal relationships we have.

 

Love will finally reign completely, utterly, and without corruption of any kind.

 

And that, my beloved brothers and sisters –my kin, is the ultimate cause for giving thanks! 

 

Today’s Praise

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13&14 

(All scripture passages above are NIV)

Written by Dan Jones

 

 

 

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