When our family gathers for thanksgiving, its a large festive occasion. Full of noise from exited grand kids and discussions ranging from what’s happening in our respective homes, our gadgets (cell phones, tablet, and computers), ministry blessings, and of course what ever football game is on at the moment.
We will sit around one large table to enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner with the younger grandchildren at a separate table.
We will meet about 1:00 p.m. and leave sometime after 7:00 p.m. For some of us it also means a 10:00 a.m. Thanksgiving service with the family of God as well. It’s just a great day!
Several years ago we initiated a new tradition in which following dinner we take time to individually share something we are thankful to the Lord for before we leave the dinner table. It’s a tradition that makes our time together really meaningful and a great reminder of all that God is doing in our midst.
As I listened this year to each testimony of thankfulness I was reminded of how unworthy I was to even be at such a table, with not just family, but the family of the redeemed. How could it have been that God would redeem me, shower me with His grace, place me In His family? With all of our warts as a human family, there is no denying that when we gather as an earthly blood related group, there is something very special when we all know Christ and stand in his grace in thanksgiving!
This last year in my Sunday School class I have been teaching on the doctrines of grace. This study has driven home to me personally about how undeserving I am , that I was caught by God while still a sinner (Romans 5:8), regenerated by His grace (Titus 3:5), turned by His grace (Matt 9:13; Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:5), in the process of sanctification by His grace (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 4:24; Romans 6:11), and will ultimately stand in His presence by His preserving grace (Romans 8:30-37; Phil 1:6; John 10:28-29). Why He would chose me to lavish (Romans 5:5) His grace upon stands as a mystery in my mind but thankfully not in His (Ephesians 1:11).
When the Late Dave Hunt questioned historical Calvinism with the title of his book “What Love Is This?”, I just stood amazed, for there certainly was no ‘redeeming” reason in and of me that God should chose me other than He sovereignly loved me. This is truly a love beyond my comprehension and leaves me happily humbled and safe in the arms of Christ.
“No man can be thoroughly humbled until he knows that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, devices, endeavors, will, and works, and depends entirely on the choice, will, and work of another, namely of God alone. For as long as he is persuaded that he himself can do even the least thing toward his salvation, he retains some self-confidence and does not altogether despair of himself, and therefore he is not humbled before God, but presumes that there is – or at least hopes or desires that there may be – some place, time, and work for him, by which he may at length attain to salvation. But when a man has no doubt that everything depends on the will of God, then he completely despairs of himself and chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work; then he has come close to grace, and can be saved.” – Martin Luther