Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving Faith

I had prepared for what certainly would have been an incredibly profound and moving (for those who do not know me, I'm kidding) lesson for a Thanksgiving service.  However, as is wont to happen in Iowa this time of year, weather intervened and the service was cancelled.  Still, let me state the main point of my punditry here as a commemoration of this Thanksgiving Day 2010. 

In St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthian Christians, he makes a clear and certain statement that thanksgiving is not just something we do ourselves, but it is the result of our deeds of service to others.  In fact, Paul goes so far as to say that it is our "obedience that accompanies" our "confession of the gospel of Christ" that causes others to praise God and give thanks.  
  • This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  (II Corinthians 9:12-13) 
This is right down the line with what James declares in the canonized sermon that bears his name, "faith without deeds is dead." (James 2:26)  Of course, Jesus said it first and best in his Sermon on the Mount, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:26)

So on this day of Thanksgiving in which Americans take time to thank God for all the blessings and opportunities bestowed so graciously upon this great nation, it is important for all followers of Jesus to remember that our influence and effect upon our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our country are all based on a faith in Christ that expresses itself in tangible and sacrificial acts of service.

When our faith is a reflection of God's mission to us in Jesus Christ, then we and others can proclaim with St. Paul (in II Corinthians 9:15), "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

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