Thanksgiving: Moving Beyond Dead Relics to Living Monuments

Thursday, November 24, 2016

give thanks to the Lord

Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6-7 (NASB)

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land the Lord instructed Joshua to choose twelve men to take twelve large stones and place them at the place where they crossed over to serve as a permanent memorial to God's miraculous provision to his people. This was to ensure that all future generations would know about God's faithfulness to his people. These stones were much more than just a memorial to God's past faithfulness but served as a constant reminder of his continuous faithfulness to all generations.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today it is important that we not view God's faithfulness as a relic of the past but as a monument to the future. God's faithfulness yesterday must always point us to look forward to the promise of his faithfulness tomorrow. Our children and grandchildren need to know that because God has been faithful to us, he will be faithful to them and will be faithful to their children and grandchildren.

I remember hearing stories of God's miraculous provision to my grandmother as she survived the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and later the Great Depression of the 1930's. I also remember the many stories told by my parents of how the Lord displayed his faithfulness while serving as missionaries in Bolivia in the late 50's and early 60's by delivering them from harm and danger many times, keeping my mother and me as an infant safe during an earthquake while my father was in Argentina, how I was miraculously healed of severe burns to my foot after stepping into boiling water. To this day I have no scars or memories of that horrible accident. I also remember countless nights sitting at our dinner table listening to guest missionaries share their own eyewitness accounts of how God healed blind eyes, opened deaf ears and even raised people from the dead.

All of these accounts and many more were always more than just stories of God's faithfulness to others in the past. They have always stirred in me a deep faith that if God could do that for them, then he would certainly do that for me. I have revisited those stories countless times in my life so that I would never forget God's promise that he will be faithful to me today and tomorrow. When I have faced seemingly impossible circumstances I recounted these stories to remind me that nothing is impossible with God. The stories of God's faithfulness told to me as a child have become memorial stones that have not only reminded me of the past but continue to point me to God's future provision.

As we sit down to gorge ourselves on a bountiful feast and enjoy friends and family today let's take this opportunity to build memorial stones with our children and grandchildren by sharing stories of God's incredible faithfulness to us and then join hands and thank him for his promised future faithfulness. This will ensure that God's faithfulness will never become a relic of the past to our children but serve as a monument to his continued faithfulness in the future. That is what Thanksgiving is really all about.

Here is a video of a song I wrote to serve as my own personal memorial stone to God's faithfulness to my family and a testament to his promised faithfulness tomorrow.

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