I absolutely love Thanksgiving! I love spending time with family, I love the idea of setting aside a day to be particularly thankful, and I love the food. I could eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce all year round. But recently, I got to thinking, “Is a feast really the best way to give thanks? Are we really honoring God by having a great big feast?”
Here are some thoughts on that…
Most Americans will sit down on Thursday to a larger-than-normal meal. Here’s why I think a feast provides us with a great metaphor for life and why I think it’s a great way to give thanks to the Lord.
1. A feast helps us remember, God has richly provided.
Eating is something we do everyday. It’s something we often take for granted. But when we sit down to a feast, we are reminded of all the things for which we ought to be thankful. We are reminded that our blessings are truly abundant.
And whether you can afford a feast of royal proportions or your feast is comparatively small, it does not matter. If you have food to eat, you have more than a lot of people in the world.
So take just a moment, when you sit down to eat, to think about this big world. Think about all the wonderful things God has richly provided for us to enjoy. Family and friends, beautiful mountains and oceans, art and entertainment, laughter and music, and the list could go on and on forever. Feasts are a reminder that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
2. A feast helps us remember, things don’t last forever.
As soon as you set the Thanksgiving meal on the table, the proverbial clock is running. All of the food will either be eaten or it will eventually be thrown out. Everything on the table has an expiration date. So when you sit down to a feast, your subconscious says, “Better eat up! This won’t last forever.”
I don’t know anyone who says to their family, “Don’t eat all the turkey. We need to save some for next year.” You can’t save it. You have to eat it, share it, and enjoy it now. It won’t last forever.
This too provides us with a great metaphor for life. The things we have been given to enjoy in our short lives are all temporary. They are uncertain. Our money, our families, our homes, our country, and even our own lives are all uncertain. So we ought to remind ourselves, “Better eat up! This won’t last forever.”
Doesn’t Solomon talk a lot about that in the book of Ecclesiastes? When we try to hold on to things, they turn to dust in our hands. We have to learn to enjoy them, share them, and let them go.
Consider Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:17-19,
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
This world – and everything in it – is temporary. So, “better eat up! This won’t last forever.”
3. A feast helps us remember, we will be hungry again.
Most of us over-eat on Thanksgiving. But we know, if we eat too much, we will make ourselves miserable. And a feast may fill our stomachs for awhile, but physical food cannot satisfy our hunger completely. There is no “meal to end all meals.” A few hours after we feast, we will be hungry again.
So, share what you have and don’t make yourself miserable by eating everything in sight. It’s just food. It is enjoyable, but it only satisfies temporarily.
This too is a metaphor for life. Many people seek complete fulfillment in the physical things of life. They seem to believe money, sex, relationships, power, fame, or whatever will satisfy them if they can just get enough. In the end, they only succeed in making themselves miserable. Money, sex, relationships, etc. are all wonderful things, but no matter how much of it you have, you will always be hungry for more. These things should be enjoyed in the proper way, but cannot completely satisfy.
God is the only One who can truly and completely satisfy. Those who are hungry for the things of this world “wander away from the faith and pierce themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10) and their “appetite is not satisfied” (Ecclesiastes 6:7). It is only those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” who will truly be “satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
Eat Up and Thank the Lord!
When you’re eating your Thanksgiving feast, remember all the little gifts God has given us that we often take for granted. Remember that everything in this world is temporary, so enjoy it while it lasts. And remember that only God can truly satisfy. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for, as it pertains to this physical world, but the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus are what really matter. Those are the things for which I am the most thankful. How about you?
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things …Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord” (Psalm 107:8-9, 43).
I Love you and God Loves You,