November is a time when we begin to think toward the impending holidays. Our fall harvests are nearing completion and we revel in the abundance of provisions given by our gracious and loving God. The bounty of His blessings are evident every year as we watch the combines and pickers running through fields and orchards, gathering in the crops to see us through the winter, and until the next harvest.
Too often, unfortunately, November is tied into the thoughts of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. I say unfortunately because, too often, the focus of Thanksgiving has become, for many, Turkey Day. Many see it as only a long weekend, and a chance to watch lots of football, and eat lots of food. I have heard estimates that the amount of food we consume on thanksgiving could feed some nations for the better part of a year.
Herein lies our struggle. When we think of Turkey Day and Black Friday, a common word describes them both: gluttony. Philippians 3:19 reminds us that "their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things." Proverbs 23:20-21 tells us "Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."
Yes, a negative approach; but, nonetheless, a reminder to us of what the day is designed for: to give God thanks for what He has given us. If we struggle with this battle (and who of us doesn't, at least occasionally?), we can find help for the battle in God's Word. We may be able to identify with St. Paul, who writes in 1 Corinthians 6:12: "‘I have the right to do anything’ you say--but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’--but I will not be mastered by anything."
Anything? St. Paul knew too well, he was mastered. He often speaks of his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, and how he was called from slavery to sin and the Law, only to be freely yoked to Christ Jesus.
If you find yourself fettered to something, let's sit down and let God's Word guide you to release from the bonds that bind you as He leads you into His freedom. As your Assistant Pastor, I offer you the opportunity to receive free counseling and guidance through God's Word to bring the healing and hope He gives. How can I do this? Because, knowing that He has freely forgiven me from my sins and fills me with His love, I can freely offer you His forgiveness and a love that will never fail. Give me a call and let's sit down to talk. My telephone number is: (248) 767-2239.
So, this year, as we sit to enjoy the bounty of the harvest God has given us, let us remember to thank Him for His provision. Maybe this is the year you can reach out to someone who is struggling, and offer the invitation: "Why don't you join us?" And, as they sit at the table with you, model for them a faith that will draw them closer to Jesus, and give you the opportunity to share the faith to which you are called.
Before I go, one final word of thanks: I am thankful to the people of St. John's for welcoming Karen and I into your midst. The outpouring of love during Pastor Appreciation and my Installation as your Assistant Pastor, was beyond our expectations. St. Paul says it so appropriately: "I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." (Ephesians 1:16 ESV)
Oh, and, by-the-way, Happy Thanksgiving. May God's blessings be yours!
In Christ, our Lord,
Pastor SchaefferProverbs 16:3