As we celebrate our cherished day of gratitude this year, we’re wondering if there’s anything left to be thankful for. Clear and present discrimination is nourished and healthy in our country; many of us are set to lose our jobs, our economy flirts with ruin, censorship ominously creeps on the horizon, and our government has commanded us to stay locked in our homes, separated from family.
If that wasn’t enough, the sinister plans of some malicious men and women in government are known to all of us, but they seem unstoppable. “You’ll own nothing and be happy” is no longer taboo but is celebrated and proclaimed from the heights of a parliament whose representatives serve AntiChrist.
Sin is raging with an unleashed fury that our generation has never known, and the whole atmosphere of our country is damp with an icy fog of oppression. No one smiles in grocery stores, neighbours are threats, and the government’s tyranny only increases.
So what can we be thankful for? In fact, there is much!
We are thankful for anything that administers our purpose defined in Ecclesiastics 12:13:
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
When we conform perfectly to this scripture, we are finally content, our lives are lived to their most excellent capacity, and we submit to our design as humans. Thus, if something—anything—helps us accomplish and enjoy this purpose, we have an obligation to be thankful for it.
We are thankful for family because it’s a portrait of the divine reconciliation we inherit in Christ Jesus. We are thankful for marriage because it’s a witness and a testimony to the incomprehensible nature of the Triune God. We are thankful for jobs because God has created us to work. And we are even thankful for tyrannical governments because they prove that our hope is not treasured in men, but Christ.
But these blessings—marriage, work, family, money—are worthless if we are separated from God. We cannot execute any command of Christ, and therefore cannot obey God in any capacity (which is rebelling against our created purpose), if we do not obey His first command, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
Of course, that statement implies we do believe in God. Belief is what’s required to fulfill our purpose! If we’re still strangled by sin, it’s vain to try and “Fear God and keep his commandments” because we’re violating the first one! It’s like standing in a bucket while trying to pick it up.
That’s why the good we’re thankful for, above all else, is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God. Without the cross, we have no bridge to mediate the infinite chasm between God and our sin. Without Christ’s sacrifice, we should still be dead in sin (1 Corinthians 15:11-19). But salvation is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9)! We have nothing to offer in compensation for mercy of such magnitude, only our worship or thankfulness. Christians are thankful, despite everything that is happening, because we are eternally saved.
And it’s true, at least for a little while, that things are going to get worse. We must bunker in for many months of struggle and suffering. But even here and now, we are thankful because we have been appointed to endure this valiant fight, and perhaps, if the rooms in Heaven are ready, to usher in the end of the age.