Thanksgiving. It's a time to be thankful and we look back on the happiness we've shared, the memories made, even the things we own. I am enamored by it all, and I look to my God and praise Him for the things I have to be thankful for - the abundance of things. Yet I cannot help but think about what Paul wrote about to the saints in Philippi.
At the time when Paul lived, if there were such a day of stepping back and giving thanks for such accomplishments in life, Paul would've had it all. Prestige among the Pharisees further enhanced by his desire to crush the rising threat that apostles posed in sharing the Gospel. His lineage traced back as a pure bread Jew and in the worlds eyes he was seen as righteous and incredibly blessed. Yet, it wasn't until he truly encountered the Lord on that road to Damascus that he realized the true feeling of thanksgiving - grace.
That grace lead Paul to become like those he persecuted. It enabled him to discredit all those things that he might've previously been thankful for and say, "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord..." What causes such a radical change? Grace.
While, like most people today, I do look at all the blessings in my life, the great wealth I have that far surpasses physical (the love and support of family and friends), I find it hard to say that even those things I count loss. Is it true? Do I count all loss for the sake of the knowledge of Christ? On my own, no - but by the power of Christ in me, yes. I have nothing but my Savior, my God, to be thankful for - all things that are of any worth in my life come from Him and Him alone and I look to Him with all the praise I can offer. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Therefore, I know for me this means I must go - to go and live fully for Him, dedicating my life to Him.
There has recently been an overwhelming feeling of grief for those in severe poverty - while I'm thankful for the abundance around me, people starve. I need to have a fast and prayerfully consider where the Lord is leading me with this compassion - a fast to draw near to my God and to empathize with those who have no choice in not eating. It is of not small consequence that the word of God calls the saints out to minister to the broken. When there is a God for whom all thankfulness is for, we must share that love!