The Power Of Giving Thanks

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Psalm 100:4-5 (NLT)

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Something to reflect on as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner:

If you had been a Pilgrim, would you have given thanks? Consider what they had been through, the men and women who broke bread together on that first Thanksgiving in 1621. They had uprooted themselves and sailed for America, an endeavor so hazardous that published guides advised travelers to the New World, “First, make thy will.” The crossing was very rough and the Mayflower was blown off course. Instead of reaching Virginia, where Englishmen had settled 13 years earlier, the Pilgrims ended up in the wilds of Massachusetts. By the time they found a place to make their new home – Plymouth, they called it – winter had set in. The storms were frightful. Shelter was rudimentary. There was little food. Within weeks, nearly all the settlers were sick. “That which was most sad and lamentable,” Governor William Bradford later recalled, “was that in two or three months’ time, half of their company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvy and other diseases…. There died sometimes two or three of a day.”

When spring came, Indians showed them how to plant corn, but their first crops were dismal. Supplies ran out, but their sponsors in London refused to send more. The first time the Pilgrims sent a shipment of goods to England, it was stolen by pirates. If you had been there in 1621 – if you had seen half your friends die, if you had suffered through famine, malnutrition, and sickness, if you had endured a year of heartbreak and tragedy – would you have felt grateful?

However, they were thankful! In 1621, Edward Winslow, one of the fifty or so members of the Plymouth colony, wrote these words, describing the first harvest festival: “Our harvest of corn came in well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian Corn, and our Barley crop was also good, but our crop of peas wasn’t worth the gathering – they were sown too late, and although they came up very well and blossomed, the sun parched them in the blossom. Once our harvest was brought in, our Governor sent four men out to hunt fowl, in order that we might have a special celebration, rejoicing together over the fruit of our labors. Those four hunters, in one day, killed enough fowl to feed our Company for almost a week. We were joined, in our celebration, by many Indians: the great Indian King Massasoyt, along with some ninety Indian men, joined us for three days of entertainment and feasting. The Indians themselves went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the Plantation and gave as gifts to our Governor, and to our Captain, and others. And although our harvests are not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish that you could be partakers of our plenty.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark


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