Thanksgiving - Have to or Get to

November 21, 2013 | 0 comments

    I grew up in a household of manners.  Phrases like “mind your ps and qs” and “be on your best behavior” were heard regularly.  And perhaps the refrain drummed over and over is, “remember to say thanks.”  In our household giving thanks wasn’t optional - it was the only response suitable for anything received.  Giving thanks was what I had to do.
    Someone this Thanksgiving might tell you you have to say what you’re thankful for.  Kids, get ready for the dinner table conversation at Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, maybe the table conversation will stall until you say something you’re thankful for.  Giving thanks may even feel at times like something you have to do. 
    Can I let you in on a secret about following Jesus?  I’m not sure how many actually know this or how many think of this that often.  Do you know that Jesus accomplished all of our have tos. 
    Like have to be good or mind our ps and qs.  None of us have done that consistently, without fail.  So Jesus came into the world.  He lives under a mom and dad, lives in a family, works, has relationships - and is perfect in all he does.  He had to be perfect because we never could be.
    Or have to make up for our wrongs.  If we fail to say thanks at supper, maybe as a punishment we might have to clean the dishes.  But when it comes to our souls, when it comes to what could make us right spiritually, only one act could make up for our wrongs - and it wasn’t cleaning the dishes.  The cross of Jesus speaks of what had to be done to cover every wrong ever done. 
    In fact one of the greatest reasons I’m a pastor today, is because the gift of Jesus and what he chose to do out of love for us is that good.  In essence he does everything we had to do. 
    And you know what’s left?  Get to.  Oh, I love get to.  Get to reminds me of eating dessert (hopefully some pumpkin pie), or going shopping, or to a movie - I get to do those things.  Maybe some of you get to have a day off of work today, or get to wake up early for Black Friday.  Maybe right now you get to lounge back, eat turkey, and watch football.  I love get to. 
    Jesus has various desires for us.  If you’re a follower of Jesus you probably know that already.  Giving thanks is one of those desires.  To look around and say he gave me  life, and health, and breath, and good in the midst of broken world, and meets my needs, and gives me hope and a future.  I hope you look at your life and are able to see God’s goodness to you.  I hope you see people who love you, your needs met, and for there to be a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
    But here’s my deepest hope.  That with the power God provides, you begin to realize that thanksgiving is not some guilt-ridden have to, it’s a get to.  It’s in fact an appropriate and reasonable response to the goodness of God and his love for us.  And may your whole life be one of get to.  Whether helping those in need, praying for the hurting, supporting a church that proclaims God’s love, loving your spouse, caring for your family etc. 
    Jesus met all of our have tos, and now we get to.  God bless you this Thanksgiving!
   

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