Thankful For What? by Greg Albrecht
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.—Deuteronomy 8:7-18
The national holiday of Thanksgiving, observed in October in Canada and November in the United States, can be a time for us to take a careful look at how God works in our lives. This holiday can also remind us how God feeds us with the spiritual food we need. Sometimes he feeds us with spiritual food we don’t always expect or want, but it is, nonetheless, spiritual food we always need. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for us to carefully look at God’s gracious work in our lives, even when his gracious work may offend our religious sensitivities, even when his love overwhelms the status quo of what we think God ought to do and ought not to do.
On the surface, Thanksgiving is devoted to giving thanks for our food, our shelter, our health, our clothing. Thanksgiving reminds us of a time when our ancestors lived on the edge, a time when severe hunger loomed on the horizon.