Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

"Last, and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work."
~ William Bradford
What an amazing thought it is to reflect upon the character of our Pilgrim forefathers this Thanksgiving! We remember, and thank God for, the sacrifices that they made, the hardships they suffered, the precedents they left, the words they penned, the principles they stood for, and the care and blessings that the Lord they served bestowed upon them. And yet, when we consider the motivation behind their actions, and the attitudes in which they carried them out, we should find ourselves humbled and inspired.

The inspiration is easy to find. Anyone who stands against great odds for nearly anything - and triumphs - becomes an inspiration to those who hear of it. And to think of a small band of families facing the perils of sea, the savage reception of a hostile land, the terror of unknown dangers, the privation of the necessities of life, the loss of half their number, and so much more, in hopes of establishing a community in which they could raise their families to honor the Lord, should be inspiring to any of us who seek to overcome obstacles or endure hardships that lay before us.

Humbling it is, however, to consider their humility. To consider that they did not think of themselves as "Nationmakers," they did not expect to be celebrated for centuries to come, they did not intend to be heroes. They merely wished to walk faithfully, and prayed that God would grant that they be "stepping stones" for the generations that would follow. They did not need to see the completion of the work, they did not need to be honored. They were willing to simply lay the foundation for the next steps, and leave the results, and the honor, to God.
"Thus, out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing... And as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise."
~ William Bradford
They gave us much. Their foundations have been built upon. The work which they put their hands to has been continued. But what we remember most about them today is that they stopped their work and set aside a day to thank God. To thank Him, after all they suffered, for the many, undeserved blessings He had granted them. Theirs is a legacy of gratefulness.

Here at the Erber household we have much to rejoice in during this season of Thanksgiving. We have an ever growing family containing the most delightful people - not that we're biased. We have a comfortable home surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country - at least, we think so. We have been blessed with wonderful friendships across the nation. We have the joy of worshipping the Lord together with the members of Christ's Church in Capron, Illinois. We have a country and heritage that we can claim with gratitude. We have another year full of memories. We have work that fills our hands, and purpose that fills our hearts. We have had opportunities to learn, serve, grow, stretch, weep, pray, rest, laugh, endure, and hope. We have Christ and His promises. We have witnessed the faithfulness of our Sovereign Lord, and can rest in His care. We are rich indeed. And yet to whom much is given, much will be required.

May the Lord find us faithful stewards of the blessings He has given us. May we never forget that He is the source of our blessings. May we walk in humility. May we seek to invest His gifts for the sake of those who will follow us. May we be stepping stones. May we never forget to give thanks.

2 comments:

Ortega Recorder said...

Amen!

Well said.

Marengo Millers said...

Those are beautiful words - suitable for framing! May God fill all our hearts with such thankfulness. : )