"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)
This is the passage I think should be the basis for our Thanksgiving worship. It reminds us not to focus on our accomplishments or our good works. We are to focus solely on the fact that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. God richly and daily provides for all our needs purely out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy. On Thanksgiving, and daily we should remember that we are God's chosen and redeemed children. This relationship is something to celebrate and is our reason for thanksgiving.
November is a month when we either focus on stewardship or the last Sundays in the church year. Stewardship asks these questions: How are you honoring God with the resources he has given you? How do you view the gifts God has given you? What is our reasonable service to God who gives us all things? How you respond to God is an act of worship. God invites us to give our first fruits. We are encouraged to place him first in our lives. We should admit that if we look at our checkbooks and schedules God is not the first thing. Sadly, I see that worship of God and giving to his church are things that get pushed aside to make room for other things. I am humbled that God puts us first. I am saddened by our response to his precious gifts.
It is important that we reevaluate our use of time, treasures, and talents. Dave Ramsey gives this advice in managing our resources. We should pay God first. Then we should pay ourselves. Whatever is left, we use for day to day living. The Bible encourages us to give our first fruits as a worship to God. When Dave Ramsey says pay yourself second, he is talking about saving. Then he says we need to learn to live within our means and stay out of debt. This is contrary to what we see in our world. This is consistent with the teachings of Scripture.
As we look at what God teaches about the last Days he tells us we will face hardships and difficulties. Paul says that our world is groaning because of sin. Paul says that all of creation has been subject to frustration. Christ is the solution to the damning effects of sin on each of us and our world. That is why as Christians we joyfully anticipate the second coming of Christ when he will establish a new heaven and earth. As we see the horrific consequences of evil and sin we long for the return of Christ.
Edward Mote in 1834 penned these words that apply to our life today. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand." Jesus is the reason we live in thankful response.