The Real Lessons of Thanksgiving (11/19)
Mark Barbee

The Pilgrims helped found this country and everyone knows the story of how they landed in the fall of 1620 and lost about half their number in a hard winter.  But God brought them hope in the spring.  They exemplified faith and covenant and made an agreement with God to serve Him.  They must have been discouraged that spring, but God brought them a miracle in the form of a Native American Indian named Squanto.  The miracle was that Squanto had learned English on a previous trip to Europe (as a prisoner) but had returned just the year before the English settlers arrived.  (He had also been taught Christianity.)  His own tribe had been decimated by a plague, so he adopted the Pilgrims.  That summer he taught them many things that led to a bountiful harvest.  He also was a liaison to the other Native American tribes.  

The Indians showed up for a harvest feast with the Pilgrims who taught them to give thanks to God.  Both groups contributed to a great feast that we often call the first Thanksgiving.  They continued in peace for a generation.  These groups had a mutual respect for one another.  The Pilgrims recognized that all people are sinners in need of salvation.  Ironically, Squanto died the next year.  But he was here just for the window of time when the Pilgrims needed him!  That’s a miracle too.

How different from utopians who always blame others or circumstances for the problems of the world and hope to achieve perfection in this world.  What a deception!  Because they leave no room for God, and do not give Him thanks, they will justify any means, even criminal ones, to achieve their goals.  What a contrast to the Pilgrims who trusted God who brought them through and thanked Him despite their losses and hardships.

So this Thanksgiving, let us remember that God works in miraculous ways to supply the needs of those who are committed to Him.  Let us not be discouraged through a dark winter, knowing that a spring is on the way.  

Another fun fact.  If Benjamin Franklin had had his way, the turkey would have been our national emblem and we’d be eating the national bird every Thanksgiving!  The turkey was native to America, but I’m glad the founders chose the eagle instead!  I hope all of you will be able to gather with some loved ones this Thanksgiving and celebrate God’s blessings.

We can all spend some time making a list of all God’s blessings in our lives.  God Bless you and let’s pray.

Lord, thank you for the inspiring story of the first Thanksgiving.  Let us learn to depend on you as the Pilgrims did.  Thank you that their vision of a free, just and God fearing society came to pass to a large extent.  We know our nation has not been perfect, but there has been progress.  

Thank you for providing Squanto’s in our lives just when we need them.  Lord, help us to trust you even when things aren’t going our way.  We pray for your provision during these times of lockdowns and limitations.  

Thank you for our families and extended families.  We recognize that You are the source of our blessings.  Most of all we thank you for our salvation in Jesus Christ.  But we also thank you for our church family and our nation, imperfect as it still is.  Lord, help us to take time with our families to say as Joshua did, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Thank you for lifting us above the cares of this world.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


There will be a prayer walk this Saturday around the outside of our building.  Meet with us at the flagpole (by Columbus St.) at 9:30.  We will walk and pray and give thanks.