I will never forget the grace Bart Simpson gave in the Simpson’s Thanksgiving episode one year.  Homer asks Bart to say grace and out of the little cretens mouth comes; “Dear God we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing”  As much as that might offend some of us, it is a profound commentary on modern Thanksgiving.   For most, Thanksgiving is just a day off with no spiritual significance whatsoever.  Even with what our culture has done to the commercialization of Xmas and Easter at least most still remember it is supposed to be about the birth and resurrection of our Lord.  When it comes to Thanksgiving it is just another paid holiday like Victoria Day or Labour day.  Most don’t have a hot clue what they are about either.  In the US I think it is even worse.  The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday.  The biggest shopping day of the entire year.  It is not actually a day off so more people call in sick than any other day.  The American dream is a beautiful thing…

You know you have overdone Thanksgiving when…

* Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the Laz-e-Boy

* Your after dinner moans are loud enough to signal Dr. Kevorkian

* The “Gravy Boat” your wife set out was a real 12′ boat!

* The potatoes you used set off another famine in Ireland

* A guest quotes a Biblical passage from “The Feeding of the 5000”

* Representatives from the Butterball Hall of Fame called twice

* You get grass stains on your bottom after a walk, but never sat down

* Your wife wears a life jacket at night in your water bed

It is easy to forget the meaning of  Thanksgiving and take for granted God’s incredible goodness to us.  In Deuteronomy 8 God warns the children of Israel about the  same thing.  He says when you come into the promised land and you have eaten and are full, your flocks and crops have increased  and you are dwelling in beautiful homes… “then you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.  And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deut 8:17,18
Those of us that live in North America have forgotten how blessed we really are.  We all have enough to eat and except for a very few we all have roofs over our heads.  If someone really wants work there is always a job, and if you are sick you can walk into any hospital and get FREE medical care.

If you own a house you are richer than 95% of the world’s population.  If you own a house and a car you are richer than 99% of the rest of the world.  Not one of us ever has the right to complain about money.  If  you are on welfare you are still rich by the world’s standards.  And then there is the fact that we have incredible freedoms.  Freedom to worship God openly.  Freedom to share Christ without fear of persecution or prison.  Freedom to say and do just about anything we want.  The United Nations ranks the world’s  nations using their Human Development Index.  No nation in the world has won as many times as Canada for having the highest quality of life.  Of all the places in the world we already live in the promised land.

When the pilgrims first came to the North America they were searching for religious freedom.  They were greeted by anything but a land flowing with milk and honey.  Of the 102 pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock 52 died of starvation in  the first year.  They had almost a complete crop failure.  Their ration for the winter was 5 kernels of corn per person a day.  Nevertheless in 1621 Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford called the colonists together in the church house to give God thanks.  Considering the kind of year they had had it might have felt like thanks for nothing.  But in God’s providence he took care of them in an extraordinary way.  Ten or twelve years earlier Spanish explorers captured a native Indian by the name of Squanto and took him as a slave.  He was taken back to Europe but was rescued by some Friars that taught him the European languages and introduced him to Christianity.  Squanto ended up in England, learning their language and culture.  Eventually he was allowed to return to his homeland.  When he arrived he discovered his entire  tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic.  The Plymouth colony was now established on the very spot that his people used to live.  Squanto and Bradford became friends and he taught the new settlers how to grow cornto survive in the new land.  Within a year the colony was prospering and flourishing.  Squanto unfortunately became ill and died.  Bradford praised God for Squanto saying, “(He) became our special instrument of God without him we would have all perished.”   On his deathbed Squanto asked Bradford to pray for him that “he could go to the Englishman’s God in Heaven.”

Even when it doesn’t look like things are going our way, God always has the situation in hand.  Even when there seems like there is no way, God will make a way.  Even if it looks like nothing is happening, God always has a plan.  We all have much to be thankful for but even if you can’t think of anything, give thanks for nothing.

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12 Responses to THANKS FOR NOTHING

  1. Theo says:

    It is amazing how people forget who has given them what they stand in need of. I like to thank God at least once a day for what I have been given. Not everything I get is a material item, there is also things like love and support.

  2. Steve says:

    I’ve aways got something to be thankful for. Jesus Christ saved me from eternal death. That means I don’t have to burn for eternity in a fire that is unquenchable away from God and away from everything beautiful He created and is about to reveal at His coming. He forgave me of living like a devil and made me a new creation. For that reason I thank God. And I thank Him He was trustworthy enough to help me in areas no one else could. He is a true Friend.

  3. Betty says:

    Jesus I Praise you, for everything, you already have done for us.

    Very good, Pastor Mark, thankyou, for that awesome message we had today, and the story of Jona, was like I heard it for the first time today and now I understand it better, when Jesus said: Be thankful in all things…. It doesnt matter what happens to me in life, there is always something I can be thankful for.

  4. Victoria says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all you fellow worshipers!
    I sat at a table this year with a family and non-worshiping friends. Well to be more accurate:the MOTHER (my friend)believes in God
    the son in law believes in God
    the daughter doesn’t believe in God
    the son doesn’t believe in God
    my friends grandchildren(the mother),follows the
    daughter and son.
    my husbands co-worker who joined us doesn’t
    believe in God (straight up atheist)
    and the young male guest we invited to stay at the
    last minute says he isn’t religious.
    This I was informed (after everyone had their food),when I asked who would like to say a prayer of thanks?
    Well, I ended up saying the prayer for thanksgiving over the rude talking and discussions that were already going on. My 3 kids and my husband and my friend bowed our heads and prayed. It wasn’t long but I felt I was really praying for those at our table that didn’t really recognize the need to be thankful…..and the only people who have jobs at this dinner table, are the ones who were praying! Coincidence?
    I think not.

  5. donna mason says:

    Hi Pastor Mark, just a note to show my appreciation for your show, you are a very natural spoken pastor and i can hardly wait til the next week to hear what your going to share …keep up the good work in Jesus name


  6. Isaac says:

    Thankfullness is a huge part of living a life of freedom. It’s when we focus on what we think we’re still lacking that we stay stuck in our ruts, stuck in our habits. Thanking God also reminds us that God is God and we are not. It helps us remember our place.

  7. Karen says:

    Dear Victoria:
    I Thank God for you. I know that it doesn’t feel like you and your faith mattered over the weekend, but one day, these people are going to look back and you will be the one that they come to when they feel that they have no one to turn to. You will be the one that shows them the way to Jesus. You lived your faith and gave thanks.
    God Bless you.

  8. SM says:

    Pastor Mark,
    You asked us to raise our hands if any of us went overseas to a developing country and to keep our hands raised if the trip changed us. My hand went up. I won’t go into a lot of detail but I just thought that I would let you know that as much as a part of me is thankful for all our material blessings (food, clothing, housing etc). It is a BIG struggle as well. We, in the developed countries thrived on the lack of unity, poverty, and corrupt governments of other countries. For example, the majority of the chocolate that we consume is grown by slave labour. Not cheap labour (which is totally wrong as well) but slave labour. I could go on, but I want to keep this short. I am sure that you would agree with me anyways. I do my best to buy fair trade when possible and to educate myself. But, I just haven’t figured out to have peace with this type of injustice. It really is heart breaking and I just don’t see our Father being happy with all the gluttony and materialism in our society. I don’t think we are living in any promise land.

  9. SM says:

    Oops! I had edited my message before sending it off and realized that I had cut out my thanks to you for Sunday’s message. I also had wrote that you taught me how Thanksgiving started and that I found that very interesting. Thanks again.

  10. Thanks alot Pastor Mark.

  11. Victoria says:

    I have some friends who are Christian that say that it is WRONG to celebrate halloween. They have a small child and are not dressing him up or taking him for the traditional halloween walk for candy…this irked my curiosity and I want to know WHY and WHERE in the bible does it say we can’t expose our children to this?
    In our house our favorite time of year is Halloween! We look forward to carving our scary face on the fresh pumpkin,(to scare away the evil spirits/demons),and then I fry the pumpkin seeds in butter, in a frying pan,and add pancake syrup until it reduces to a nice brown candy coated seed! We eat the seeds together and decorate the house with various respectable decorations…(no fake bloody items or fake body parts ) and dress up in the store bought costume the boys demand I buy them. This year my youngest however is going to be a big yellow fuzzy

  12. Victoria says:

    Sorry I pressed “SUBMIT” by accident.
    Anyhow, I heard that Oct.31 traditionally is to remember our dead loved ones (in Mexico, it is a day for remembering the dead,and a big party also) so,how is this un-Christian?
    Also to throw some balance in there, the Catholic churches made November 1,(the next day) All Saints day,to celebrate the lives of the many Catholic priests that became saints after THEIR death!
    What do You think Pastor Mark?
    Maybe you should do your next blog on this subject?