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Thanks to God
THE FRUIT OF THE HARVEST
Terry R. Baughman
“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19–20).
It is not incidental that Thanksgiving comes in the fall of the year and on the cusp of more severe weather. In times when most people were involved in growing their own food they were more aware of the blessing of harvest. This time of year was an occasion to celebrate the success of another season of growth and increase. So many things can happen in the early stages of agriculture during the times of planting, cultivation, and growth. There can be too little rain or too much. There can be random storms and devastating winds. Insects and varmints can invade and destroy a crop in hours that has taken weeks to produce. Even in times of harvest many things can go wrong and cause the loss of a crop or dashed hopes for a successful growth season. However, when the harvest was safely in the barns, grain stored for future planting, and food on the table there was occasion to rejoice.
Isaiah spoke of the joy of harvest when he prophesied the coming of the Messiah. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; They rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest” (Isaiah 9:2-3). When salvation came the was joy likened to the successful harvest. It is a cause for celebration and thanksgiving!
While our celebration is unlike those who celebrated the harvest, Thanksgiving is just as meaningful to those who recognize the works of our God. Although the season of Thanksgiving may not be considered a religious holiday one cannot help but reflect on God’s blessings as we consider the many things for which we are grateful. The American tradition of Thanksgiving has become a time for road trips, feasting, football, outdoor sports, and great shopping opportunities. Many look at the holiday as the yearly opportunity to decorate for Christmas, prepare for Black Friday sales event, or to binge eating before they give in to a food-induced coma on the couch.
However, the true essence of Thanksgiving is to give glory and honor to God for all of our blessings in life. Others may have a heart of gratitude but unless there is an object of worship our gratitude seems empty and our thanksgiving self-centered. When we are truly grateful we want to express that appreciation to something bigger than we are, to the one who has made it all possible. When we recognize God as our creator, our provider, and the source of every blessing it is only natural that our gratitude be centered on Him.
An attribute of the final generation according to the apostle Paul was that they would be unthankful. Of the last days He predicted, “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:2–5). While we may see some if not all of those characteristics in our culture, let us keep the observance of Thanksgiving as a reminder that there is a God over all who is covering us and keeping us in His care. Let this sincerely be a time of thanksgiving to God for all of His incredible blessings.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).