As we approach thanksgiving tomorrow and we make plans to meet with friends and family for dinner or parties, God is speaking to me through today's text from Corinthians. Paul writes to the church at Corinth who are in the midst of bitter arguments and differences. Sound familiar? Anyway the church is almost at the point of breaking up, Paul knows this writing the letter but he opens giving thanks regardless. Let's look to the text.
THE FIRST LETTER OF PAUL TO THE
1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul opens the letter giving thanks in spite of the arguments, bad feelings and misunderstandings going on among the members and the society. Paul is happy and yet thankful for all that God has done, and is doing in the lives of the people of Corinth. "Grace and peace to you from God our father and Christ Jesus our brother". Paul's words and understanding should speak volumes to us this thanksgiving and holiday season.
I don't know what you are going through specifically, but I know that our country is enduring extreme economic turmoil, many are experience layoffs, and unemployment. While our youth are faced with peer pressure, a lack pf leadership and the influence of self-centered and greedy media sources. The church seems distant and exclusive all while millions of people are crying out for relief from STD's, bad marriages, relationship and family problems, health issues, death and poverty. Paul knows that the people of Corinth are suffering from the same issues and are crying out for the same relief, but here he is giving thanks.
Friends, this thanksgiving and indeed the entire holiday season take time out to reflect on Paul's actions here and note that we must praise God always. Through Paul's thanksgiving and praise to God healing, and relief were made available to the people. Through our praise and thanksgiving to God in the midst of all situations, God's peace and understanding are able to penetrate our circumstances providing relief.
Have a happy and loving thanksgiving, regardless of what you are going through know God is at work and for that if nothing else give God some praise...