Be Thankful

By Greg Quinn

November 25th, 2010

Today is Thanksgiving.  This holiday means different things to different people.  From the beginning of our nation, the pilgrims were thankful for the blessings the Lord had bestowed upon them, the new friendships with the Indians, and the salvation of their families and the settlement of a new nation.  Many people are thankful just for a day off work.  Others are thankful to have a job to go to.  We use this time to reflect upon what is really important; our families, our friends, the blessings of the Lord.  If only once per year, most Americans pause for a moment in appreciation for what they have or have endured.

The book of Job is a good lesson on Thanksgiving.  The Bible tells us that Job was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1).  Basically, Job was a good man.  But Job was more than a good man.  Job was a man who loved God, who feared God, and who behaved as God would want him to behave. He resisted evil and did good.  And, because of this, God richly blessed Job.  Job 1:2-5 talk about Job’s vast wealth, good family, and devout worship of God.

You know the story.  Satan convinced God to let Satan afflict Job.  God agreed.  The end of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 tell of the affliction of Satan upon Job.  He lost his family.  He lost his wealth.  He lost his health.  He lost his friends.  All was taken away.  The rest of the book of Job is a story of Job’s faith and patience even in times when things were very tough, and at times when he questioned God and truly didn’t understand. But, through it all, “Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22).  In the end, God blessed Job because of his actions and faith and thankfulness.  Job 42:12, “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning….”

The moral of the story?  It is doubtful that any of us reading this story has had it nearly as bad as Job.  But, through it all, have we remained thankful?

The economy is bad.  Jobs are scarce.  Money is tight.  There are people suffering greatly.  Some who had wealth have lost it all.  Some who didn’t have much now have less.  People have lost loved ones to murder, disease, accidents, and sin.  The government threatens to take away our rights.  Our politicians are almost as crooked as criminals in prison.  Church attendance continues to fall.  People don’t seem to care about God anymore.  But through it all, cannot we, like Job, find things for which to be thankful?

Job was very wealthy but lost all his wealth at once.  Perhaps we were not wealthy, or maybe we were.  Perhaps we were barely getting by.  Regardless, we may be fighting to keep our heads above water now financially.  Things are tough.  But, we haven’t lost as much as Job.  Can’t we remain faithful and thankful for what we do have?

Job had a large, loving family.  He lost his family in tragedy after tragedy.  Maybe you have lost a loved one this year.  Or perhaps a friend.  Or our child or spouse.  But, don’t you have others that love and care for you?  Cannot you be thankful for those in your lives that you do have?

Job was healthy but lost his health.  He had sores and boils and all sorts of illnesses.  It was so bad that people couldn’t even stand to look at him or smell the stench of his rotting flesh.  But although in pain, and although he didn’t understand everything, Job remained faithful to God and thankful for what he did have.  Perhaps you have lost your health over this past year, or maybe you have recently suffered a sickness.  Yet, you are still alive.  Perhaps it wasn’t nearly as bad as Job.  If Job can be so sick yet remain thankful, why cannot we?

Job’s patience, faithfulness, and thankfulness were rewarded.  He was given by God more than he ever had before.  He lived to a ripe old age.  Satan tried to tear Job away from God, but Satan couldn’t do it.  Job remained faithful, and so did God.  God restored Job.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection upon what God has done for us.  Maybe it’s been a tough year.  But probably not as tough as Job's was.  Let’s focus on what God has done for us.  Let’s focus on our blessings.  Let’s be thankful for all that God has done on our behalf.  Then perhaps, like Job, we will live a blessed life with whatever we have, and God will openly reward us for our thankfulness.

I wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving.

Greg Quinn