Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Terry R. Baughman
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (Psalm 24:1 NIV).
The horn of plenty is a common illustration of Thanksgiving. Centerpieces and other seasonal decorations may include a horn shaped basket with an abundance of produce spilling from the opening. This cornucopia has history in Greek mythology as a symbol of a goat’s horn that was purported to have sustained Zeus in his infancy. Rather than fanciful myths of ancient history, to us, it is simply a basket of blessing, a container of an overflow of harvest after the ingathering of produce.
Recognizing that all that grows and all that is in the earth is provided at the hand of One Almighty God, then we have cause to rejoice in His blessing and express thanksgiving for His provision. David said, “The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 24:1 KJV). Everything we have been given belongs to the Lord as well as we ourselves belong to Him. An important aspect of this time of the year that brings reflection is an opportunity to express our thanks to God for all He has provided.
However, it should not just be in November that we find occasion to be thankful. When we come to the realization that God is the source of all blessings we must live with an attitude of thanksgiving all year long. As much as we might express thanks to a kind gesture, such as someone opening a door for us, or a small gift or a thoughtful favor, we should also be quick to offer thanksgiving to God for every day we live and every blessing we receive.
In another Psalm God is quoted as expressing His ownership. He said, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine” (Psalm 50:10–11). An old time preacher once said, “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills … and all the taters under the hills!” It is really true. The potatoes and every other vegetable, legumes, fruit, nuts or meat belong to Him, but He has freely shared them with the inhabitants of earth.
Back to the time of Adam, humans have been vested with the responsibility and the privilege of being stewards of all creation. Our stewardship includes the husbandry of produce and the cultivation of a multitude of plants. The reward is that we eat of the harvest and enjoy feasts from the result of our labors. Having known difficult times with insufficient food, the early settlers who came to America learned to survive from the indigenous people who shared from their supplies. After another summer and the resulting harvest the first Thanksgiving was initiated as both settlers and natives ate together and all gave thanks for an abundant harvest.
Inherent in the celebration of Thanksgiving is the aspect of sharing. It is a wonderful time to have family get-togethers. Often others who may not have family or close friends are invited to share in these special meals and expression of appreciation for our blessings.
This year and through the years, let us be more aware that all we have received is a gift from God and it all belongs to Him. Whatever we have received was a blessing of Divine provision and it is appropriate to acknowledge His ownership and His gifts to us. Knowing that it all belongs to God helps us resist the temptation to cling to things as those we are the true owners of these material things. What we have worked for, saved for, purchased and brought home feels like something that we own. In the light of the Word of God we should realize that nothing really belongs to us; we are just stewards of what God has allowed us to call our own.
“The fulness of the earth” is literally “everything in it” and thus several newer translation render the verse that way. Everything belongs to God. Thankfully, He is such a God that only enjoys the things that He shares with us and He is pleased when we receive them with thanksgiving and share them with His same attitude. Acknowledge His ownership and give thanks for His blessings!
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4 NKJ).