This opening line of a familiar Thanksgiving hymn bids us to come and “Raise the song of harvest home because, “God, our maker, does provide for our wants to be supplied.” In other words, when we stop to consider what a good and giving God we have and to recognize how much He has blessed us, we will want to gather together and give Him thanks. To this end we have, of course, a national day of Thanksgiving on November 28, and also a Thanksgiving Eve worship service here at St. Michael on November 27 at 7:00 pm. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to give to God the thanks that He deserves. Not only can you offer up at this time an offering of praise, you can also bring with you some non-perishable food items as a part of your thank offering and set it before the Lord’s altar prior to the service. This food will then be donated to the Portage Community Outreach Center (PCOC) as we have done many times in the past.

As much as God is pleased to receive our thank offering at the Thanksgiving holiday, it is a life of thanks-living that the Lord really desires from us, in response to His free grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. This means counting our blessings each day and living a life that reflects that we are truly grateful for what we have received from the Lord. At the top of our list is our never-ending love relationship with Him through faith in His Son. In the first chapter of his first epistle, St. Peter tells us that this faith is of “greater worth than gold” (I Peter 1:7) and therefore should be our most prized possession which we value and treasure the most, and give the most careful attention to protecting and maintaining. God wants us to be a good steward of our money, our house, our car(s), and our other material possessions, but much more so, God wants us to be a good steward of our faith. That means reading the Bible and praying, worshiping God in church, and ironically, giving our faith away in Christian witness to the lost people around us.

In this same chapter St. Peter also says that Christians are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (I Peter 1:8) because we know that as beautiful as this world is, and as blessed as we have been on this planet, the best is really yet to come in heaven. He calls this the “goal of your faith, the salvation of your soul (v. 9). With this optimistic, eternal perspective on life, we then heed Peter’s direction to “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (v. 13) and then we respond as “obedient children (v. 14), living as “strangers here in reverent fear, and knowing that we were redeemed “not with perishable things such as silver or gold. . . but with the precious blood of Christ (vv. 17-18).

When, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we really grasp this, then we are what Peter (and Jesus) called “born again”. We have a “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shield by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to revealed in the last time (vv. 3-5). May we as Christ’s born again believers, live a life of thanksgiving every day, making the most of this world for God’s glory, even as we await that better world which the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.

 

Pastor Naumann