S-1148 11/26/09 Thanksgiving Day (O) #574 LSB; (S) #36; L.S.#572; Choir; (C) #894 LSB
Texts: Deuteronomy 8:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Luke 17:11-19
Theme: “A Good Reason to…” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Question: “How many reasons can you think of to give Thanks to God?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Thanksgiving Day celebration is from the O.T. Lesson: “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD Your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
Saints in Christ Lincoln’ original 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous “Gettysburg Address.” It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend:
When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency] I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.
Listen to this Christian President as he gives the many reasons for this nation to give thanks and establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday.
By the President of the United States of America
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Singed Abraham Lincoln
It has been 146 years since those words were spoken by this great leader of the free nation. President Abraham Lincoln encouraged all the Americans to give thanks to the Almighty Father for His gifts of grace.
146 years later, we still have many reasons to give thanks to the Lord. Here are but few of these reasons:
* America controls nearly 20 percent of the world’s wealth. There are around 6 billion people in the world, and there are roughly 300 million people in the U.S. That makes America less than 5 percent of the world’s population. And this 5 percent owns fifth of the world’s wealth.
* Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under age five dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14 percent of the food we purchase.
* Nearly a billion people in the world live on less than an American dollar a day. Another 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than two American dollars a day.
* More than half of the world lives on less than two dollars a day, while the average American teenager spends nearly $150 dollars a week.
* Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world does on all goods.
As you look at these statistics you come to see and understand what blessed people we are. Not because we have great material wealth, but because we are God’s sons and daughters. We who live in these great U.S. have freedom that many countries know nothing about. Freedom to worship. Freedom to bear arms. Freedom to travel without any restrictions.
To be sure we don’t need a president to tell us to give thanks. We do so because there are many good reasons. How many reasons can you count today for which you are thankful? We can speak of family, friends, loved ones, jobs. But how about having a house of worship; Bibles to read; the opportunity to witness; and to share and to grow? All of these are but the fruits of God’s love for us. Because of what He has done for us, we have a good reason to thank Him for all of His blessings and bounty. PAUSE.
During the slave trade business, some slaves were brought to the Auction market to be sold. Among the slaves was one young beautiful lady. She was brought up to the front and the rich men of Virginia gawked at her. Some touched her ribs and said, “She will be a good wench.” Others opened her mouth to check her teeth like a horse. The auctioneer began the bidding. And the amount was steadily climbing higher and higher. At last one young man paid a pretty price for this young. As the money was exchanged, the man took his possession and began to walk away. When they were all alone, the man who purchased her, turned around and gave her the bill of sales and said, “I bought you so that I can set you free. You may go where you want and no one will bother you again!” At hearing these words, the slave girl fell to the ground and thanked the man and said, “Sir, I am free because of your kindness and generosity, let me spend the rest of my life thanking you by serving.”
This lady was appreciative to the kindness of this man. She thanked him by becoming a willing slave in his house. Read the text of O.T. again and you will see how God’s hands of mercy and grace were caring and providing for the people of Israel throughout their wilderness. God set them free to be His chosen people and as such it was their privilege to thank Him.
How about us? We too, have been set free from the auction block and the wicked master—the Devil. As the price for our souls was going higher and higher, someone stood on the side and raised His hands high to pay the ransom price—a price not paid with gold or silver, not even in green dollars; but with blood and flesh on the wooden beam of the cross. Jesus set us free to be slaves to no man, but to love and obey Him as our Lord and Master. And just as that young lady ran in front of the man who freed her and said, “I will serve you for the rest of my life,” we too, as the blood-bought souls, with joy on this Thanksgiving Day say, “Lord, I will serve you with my whole life. I thank You for my freedom. I thank You for Your forgiveness. I thank You for the gift of faith. I thank You for the fellowship I will have around your table today and every day you make it possible.
Beloved in the Lord, fathers are a gift from the Lord to their wives and children. You know what I mean. There is nothing quite like hearing your father’s voice. You know I just returned from the old country (Israel), where I heard my father’s voice often. As I think about my dad’s voice, I also think of my heavenly Father’s voice, whose words at times may be as difficult to listen to as that of our own earthly fathers’ as it was evident in the text before us today. Yet, how thankful I am for the voice of my father—as most certainly, God’s voice—His voice brings comfort for trouble hearts and peace for guilty conscious. How thankful I am to have such a loving Father, who is so much greater than our President. The President issued a proclamation for Thanksgiving Day, but the King of kings gives us the true reason to be thankful for.
Today, in this house, we hear the voice of King of kings spoken again to give us joy in our hearts. We hear the loving Father saying: “On account of my Son, you all have become My children!” How reassuring is that? “Because of My Son, I will not hold your sins against you?” How wonderful is that message! “Because of My Son, I forgive you; feed you and fellowship with you!” How blessed we are to have such a loving Father!
Indeed, saints in Christ, we have a good reason to give thanks—we are loved by God—THE ALMIGHTY FATHER. Amen.
Now the peace of God…