Is Your Home Odd?

The Counter-cultural Nature of Thanksgiving

Pre-read Instructions: Right now, briefly ask God to help you as you read Scripture. Read slowly through Ephesians 5:1-21.  

Recently I read an article stating that Thanksgiving isn’t a biblical holiday because the Bible does not mention it. I laughed out loud! This is a shallow assessment at best. It is correct to say that the Bible doesn’t mention the American holiday we call “Thanksgiving” but that is only a surface level statement that narrows to the shores of America the Christian's call to develop thankfulness to God in the home. Yes, Thanksgiving Day was made a national American holiday, something that ought to be commended rather than critiqued, but the practice was actually already well established in the Separatist group of Christians we call “the Pilgrims.” My intention here is not to prop up the American holiday of Thanksgiving but to encourage Christians to grasp their calling to be the people in this fallen world who are characterized by giving thanks to the true and living God (1 Chronicles 16; Luke 17:18; Philippians 4:6). 

Whether or not the American holiday we call “Thanksgiving” is derived from the Bible matters not. Even the feast days of the Old Testament were not meant to be merely special “holy days” (Colossians 2:16-19). These Divinely appointed special days were designed by God to teach the people about God and how to look to Him every day. God’s people Israel were to be different from the peoples around them. Their worship was different. Their beliefs were different. Their relationships were different. Their home-life was different. This is true because their God was different. God’s people do not take their direction from the surrounding culture. God’s redeemed people take their instructions from God’s revelation found in His Word, the Bible (John 17:13-19; 18:37). 

In the same way, Christians are to live radically for Jesus Christ. What do we mean by “radically?” We mean radically committed to the teachings of the Bible. This is what our Savior Jesus said (Matthew 28:20). In Ephesians chapter 5 verses, 1-21 believers are called by apostolic authority to live radically different from the society that surrounded them. They are called to live lives of holy thankfulness. In verse 18 the Apostle Paul instructs us to be filled with the Spirit, i.e., to be controlled by the Spirit as a person who is filled with wine is controlled by it. He teaches that spirit-controlled believers sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another, are submissive to authority and to each other and are intentional about giving God the thanks due Him as Creator and Redeemer. Notice that chapter 5 calls the Christian to radically depart from the sins of the culture to pursue the true spiritual life in Jesus Christ by living with a profound devotion to His teachings found in Scripture alone. Such a life is characterized by a thankfulness to God that transforms our lives, our outlook, our relationships, our homes, our behavior, and our worship in the church community.   

Millennials and the generations following them look at the world differently and I’ll be the first to say that’s not all bad. We must be careful not to turn to them a deaf ear simply because they are younger. Young adults want to be different from the world they think they see around them. That is not all bad either. Often, their observations are correct. They want to be different and help the world be different. These are commendable desires. Let us help them to see that Christians are not really supposed to fit in either. Following Christ is going to make us run counter to much of the culture that surrounds us. How can you attract your children and grandchildren to the gospel of Jesus? Perhaps by showing them what it means to be filled with the Spirit. That shows them a better way than what they see in the world on TV and in the News. Let’s devote ourselves to Ephesians 5 and watch God use us in this time in history. 

Love In Christ, 

Pastor Scott

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