The devotional reading for Thanksgiving Day comes from a sermon selection found in Concordia Pulpit Resources.
Philippians 4:6-20 or 1 Timothy 2:1–4
God has abundantly blessed each of us with all that we need to support this body and life. On this Day of Thanksgiving, we pause to recall and give thanks for each of the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. May God grant us grateful hearts to give thanks in all circumstances, especially as we rejoice in the gift of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
A psychiatrist says there are two kinds of stress in human behavior. One is destructive. The other gives us vitality and a spring to our step. This “stress,” he maintains, is found among those who have what we call “an attitude of gratitude.” These persons live life gratefully. When we live life that way, giving thanks is not only an expression of words but also is evident in everything we do. Thanksgiving, appreciation, gratitude—not only to one another but also to God—are the hallmarks of Christian life. That attitude pervades life.
As Jesus wondered where the nine thankless lepers were, so he must wonder about us when the gifts he gives are ignored, abused, or unappreciated. We are most grateful for health when we become sick; for work when we are unemployed; for food when we are hungry; for family and friends when we’re lonely. Shouldn’t it be the other way around as well? Shouldn’t there be thanksgiving when health reigns, jobs are secure, and there is food on the table?
Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to give thanks in everything (Philippians 4:6). He encouraged the Ephesians to always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:20). Jesus, in our text, recognized thanksgiving as that aspect that dares to live dangerously, fearlessly asking God for mercy and then faithfully accepting the gift by turning from an old life to a new one that appreciates the God who gives blessings. He did not seek thanks for Himself but praise for our Father. “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” inquired Jesus.
All of His ministry, Jesus was in the business of healing and forgiving. Today He still is. He heals our physical illnesses and our spiritual sickness. He forgives leprous sins that eat away at our spiritual lives, and He gives us the faith to live a new life of appreciation and thankfulness.
Gratitude flows out of life in the Spirit of God, a new life begun at Baptism and strengthened at the Holy Supper, the Eucharist (a word that means “thanksgiving”). We celebrate with appreciation and thanks the death of Jesus for our sins and the life of the Spirit in us.
Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 10, Part 4 © 2000 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
© 2015 Concordia Publishing House