Thanksgiving is a season to say grace. The holiday reminds us to be thankful for all the grace that has been shown us through the good times and the bad times of the preceding year. At least that was what the holiday was about for the Pilgrims and Indians. It’s the easiest thing in the world to take God’s grace in vain. That’s why I’m grateful for a holiday that forces me to ponder what I am thankful for.
As a Bible teacher myself I am always impressed when someone finds a way to illustratea complex Biblical concept. I heard of a Bible teacher who wanted to teach hisstudents about God’s grace. He gave them a killer test on which most ofthem performed poorly. After they had graded it, he asked them to put a numberin the top corner of their test page. If they put the number 1 they were statingthat they were willing to trade their own earned grade for a 100 no questionsasked. If they put the number 2 they were indicating that they were willing totrade their grade for a 100, but felt a little weird about doing so. If theyput a number 3 they were saying that they wanted to keep the grade they made.The teacher had offered the free gift of grace to all his students.
This lesson in grace revealed the other side of grace and how often we humansrefuse the grace that is offered to us. In the aftermath of this event the teacherwas required to take back his offer of grace and give the students the gradesthey had earned. Complaints to the administration required this denial of grace.Personally, I think it is a true illustration of how often we fall from the gracethat is offered us. In 2 Corinthians 6:1 Paul warns, As God’s fellowworkers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. It’shard to understand why, but it is very natural for us to receive God’sgrace in vain.
I experienced this myself recently when I was the recipient of God’s gracethrough the kindness of others. The outcome of a mistake that I made createdan opportunity for my family and me to be treated to a gift. We wouldn’thave received the gift if I hadn’t made a mistake. I’ve got to tellyou that it felt very strange to accept the gift. Our humanness causes us tobelieve we need to take what we deserve. Sometimes we need God’s help evento accept His grace.
That’s why I’m thankful for a holiday like Thanksgiving. It givesme a chance to remember the Grace that God has given to me this year. I knowfor a fact that I, too, have taken God’s grace in vain more times thanI will even be able to remember on Thanksgiving. I will use the holiday to askmyself and my family to celebrate God’s grace in our lives through thegood times and the bad times just like the Pilgrims and the Indians. I also wantto urge you, like Paul did to the Corinthians, not to receive God’s gracein vain but to give Him thanks and recognition. Don’t refuse it; acceptit. In this way you will truly appreciate the meaning behind the holiday andhave a happy Thanksgiving.