Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.



November 2013



A Journey with Thanksgiving

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Rockwell-saying-grace-19514-3It was G. K. Chesterton who said, “The saddest moment in an atheist’s life comes when they have something for which to be thankful and no one to thank.”  Indeed, God’s blessings are poured out before us in ten thousand ways if we would have eyes to see them.  From the rain to the sun, to the food and water that sustain us, to the loving relationships of our lives, all bear witness to the common grace God bestows on His creation.

It has been observed that if you can read, you possess an ability not known by 1.2 billion of this world’s population. If you woke up with more health than sickness, you are certainly better off than one million people in this world who won’t make it through the week. If you have food, clothes, a roof over your head, and 20 dollars in your pocket, then you are richer than 80% of world.  And, if you own a Bible, you are more blessed than a third of the world who has no access to one.

However, instead of being thankful to God, we tend to be the opposite.  Like Israel of old we come to despise the manna and demand the meat.  When we have an interruption, an inconvenience, or an irritation, we put God in the dock calling into question His goodness.

Even when suffering comes and our world is turned upside down, still we have much for which to be thankful.  The biblical story of Job is breathtaking as we try to absorb his suffering. In the span of a single day, he lost his wealth and all ten of his children.  Job’s words are moving in the wake of his sorrow, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In the Bible, we find a continued call to cultivate a thankful heart:

Psalm 50:14,23- “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High…He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.”

Psalm 69:30- “I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 95:2- “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.”

At the center of biblical thanksgiving is what God has done through Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection stand at the top of the list of all of God’s blessings. For only in Him do we come to know forgiveness and salvation. Little wonder the Apostle Paul declared of Jesus, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Eric Hoffer once said, “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”  This Thanksgiving day, would you do an inventory of your blessings? Would you take a journey with thanksgiving? I promise you will not be the same, and those around you will notice the difference.

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