April 7, 2012
But understand this; that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
Mrs. Sarah Hale is known for two things.
First, she is the lady who wrote, "Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went ...." Well, you already know the rest of that story, so I don't have to go into detail.
But Sarah Hale is also the lady who, in 1828, began a crusade to make Thanksgiving as part of our national festivities.
She noted the pilgrims had offered thanks, but the custom never continued, not officially. Then, after the Revolution, Washington had called for a day of public thanks, but the official day was done away with by Thomas Jefferson, who called it a "kingly practice."
Although Mrs. Hale knew that many, maybe, even most, people gave thanks to the Lord, she still thought it proper that our nation do the same. To that end she begged, pleaded and encouraged. In response the nation's leaders said she was "naïve," "impractical," "impossible."
Hale kept hitting a brick wall until Lincoln put the day on our calendar. Still, it took 80 years for Congress to officially approve the idea.
It all goes to show that nations, especially rich nations, like to reserve their applause for themselves. Paul described such peoples when he wrote to Timothy.
You can see his words above. It is not a pleasant listing.
In contrast, Christians should be different. Indeed, God's people should be lean, mean, thanksgiving machines. They who remembered they once were lost, helpless, doomed and damned know they should gladly and gratefully offer appreciation to the Lord for the gift of His blood-bought forgiveness and salvation.
Almost as importantly, they should be appreciative of those physical gifts that God bestows, but which often go unrecognized and unapplauded.
That way, if their nation gives thanks -- wonderful -- and if their nation does not God will still know there are hearts down there who have not forgotten Him, His blessings and His bounty.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, no matter what the world, my country or others may do, grant that I have a thankful heart. Make me grateful for gifts both spiritual and physical. This I pray in the Name of Your Son, my Savior: my cause for thanksgiving. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries