One of Braddock Baptist Church's favorite traditions is the Thanksgiving Eve service. This is a short message followed by testimonies of fellow believers. This is our opportunity to "tell on God", and all that He has done in our lives for the last year. Enjoy our message below!
Thanksgiving is largely about gratitude and generosity, these go hand in hand. Kindness received results in kindness shown, within the household of faith and outsider too, (fellowship), all for God’s glory.
2 Corinthians 9:10-15 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Thanksgiving in America, has always been a time for people coming together, so thanks has also been offered for that gift of fellowship between us all. Every last Thursday in November we now partake in one of the countries, OLDEST and most UNIVERSAL celebrations, and there are many thanksgiving stories to tell, this one by Chuck Larsen. As for Thanksgiving week at Plymouth Plantation in 1621, the friendship was guarded and not always sincere, and the peace was very soon abused. But for three days in New England's history, peace and friendship between two very different cultures was there.
When the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1620, they landed on the rocky shores of a territory that was inhabited by Indians. These Indians lived in villages along the coast of what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They lived in round- roofed houses called wigwams. These were made of poles covered with flat sheets of elm or birch bark. Wigwams differ in construction from tipis that were used by Indians of the Great Plains.
The Wampanoags moved several times during each year in order to get food. In the spring they would fish in the rivers for salmon and herring. In the planting season they moved to the forest to hunt deer and other animals. After the end of the hunting season people moved inland where there was greater protection from the weather. From December to April they lived on food that they stored during the earlier months.
Any visitor to a Wampanoag home was provided with a share of whatever food the family had, even if the supply was merger. This same courtesy was extended to the Pilgrims. Their custom was to help visitors, and they treated the newcomers with courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the Pilgrims survived at all.
Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, invited Squanto, (the leader of the Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for a celebration. As the Thanksgiving feast began, the Pilgrims were overwhelmed at the large turnout of ninety relatives that Squanto brought with him. The Pilgrims were not prepared to feed a gathering of people that large for three days. Thus it happened that the Indians supplied the majority of the food: deer, maybe wild turkeys, fish, beans, squash, corn soup, corn bread, and berries. The dinner quest generosity continued.
For three days they feasted together. It was a special time of friendship between two very different groups of people. A peace and friendship agreement was made giving the Pilgrims the clearing in the forest where the old Patuxet village once stood to build their new town of Plymouth.
Thanksgiving is a lesson in helping. In being generous, sharing what you have with others reaching across cultural and other barriers to share what you know in order to better help others survive and most importantly to give thanks to our creator and provider for His many blessings.
There was also a "First" Thanksgiving, way back before the Americans, but it was celebrated thousands years ago. Thanksgiving was associated with giving thanks to God for the harvests of the land.
Lev. 7: 11 “These are the regulations for the fellowship offering anyone may present to the Lord:
12 “‘If they offer it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering they are to offer thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. 13 Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they are to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. 14 They are to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the Lord; it belongs to the priest who splashes the blood of the fellowship offering against the altar. 15 The meat of their fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; they must leave none of it till morning.
16 “‘If, however, their offering is the result of a vow or is a freewill offering, the sacrifice shall be eaten on the day they offer it, but anything left over may be eaten on the next day. 17 Any meat of the sacrifice left over till the third day must be burned up. (This most likely a hygienic measure, no fridge).
This was the only sacrifice to be eaten by the donor; it was also distinctive in comprising the only animal sacrifice that did not make atonement for sin. The underlying motivation of the offering was that of appreciation or gratitude, which was not always a conspicuous element in Jewish, or now in Christian living. Paul instructs us the believer is to make his requests know to God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6), to be watchful in prayer with thanks giving (Col. 4:2) and to give thanks always and for everything to God (Eph. 5:20) our text passages tells us that our generosity results in others lifting their praise to God as well.
The worshippers under the Levitical law were not permitted to leave any of the meat from the sacrificial animal for another day but was required to eat it at the time it was offered. For a freewill offering, however, the donor was allowed an extra day in which to complete the feast at which he would have probably invited friends to participate.
We give thanks to God for his indescribable gifts.
Thanks for giving and thanks is for givers! When we are generous we are like God. BBC is and hopefully will remain a generous Christ following body. The greatest gift God has given us is indescribable-but embodied in Jesus, have you received this gift? The greatest gift we can give is to share what we have with others. Will you this Thanksgiving season-not just a day share? Do you need to come to this alter today and receive- or maybe give? Come, whatever your need!