“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)

As we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, we should note that although such a day is not commanded by the Scriptures the act of thanksgiving itself is. That is, the act of thanking God for all we have and for eternal life in Jesus is what is commanded. Yet, over the years, our cultural celebration of this day has forgotten about God. The focus is on food, feasting, and football. Who then do Americans give thanks to, if not the God who has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus? Possibly the government, a higher power, the Spirit of mankind but more likely, thanks is given to the self. Many think they they have achieved all they have by their own talents and abilities and have little need for God. 

The Lord warned the Israelites in the Book of Deuteronomy that as they took up residence in Canaan they were in danger of abandoning Him. God promised to bless them in the land and provide for them in abundance just as He had done in the wilderness. However such prosperity would breed complacency as the people relaxed and felt at ease in the land. Then they would tend to be filled with an attitude of self-reliance. They would forget that all they possessed was given them by God, even their talents. And abilities. They would begin to think they alone were  their own responsible for their riches and success.

The remedy to this delusion was to constantly remember that the Lord was responsible for all they had and to thank Him. The community as a whole and the religious leaders had a responsibility to keep the truth always before their eyes, to hold each other in mutual accountability.

We in the Church have the same responsibility. Therefore, we must not adopt the ways of the people of the world and emulate the celebrities, political leaders, the movers and the shakers and all those who and seek praise and recognition for their accomplishments, deeds, talents, and riches as if they were responsible for these. We must never forget to remember that the blessings and talents that we have are all given to us by God. We must never become so self-centered and proud that we forget to thank Him.  And we must remind the world that the one to thank is Jesus.