Inspiration – The Coming Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving is approaching. Will it be as it has been in many instances, a thanksgiving to ourselves? or will it be a thanksgiving to God? Our Thanksgivings may be made seasons of great profit to our own souls as well as to others, if we improve this opportunity to remember the poor among us. God has placed His poor in our midst, and He identifies His interest with them. Those who for Christ’s sake relieve their necessities thus show that they would gladly do the same for Jesus; but as they cannot manifest their love to Jesus in person, they do their acts of sympathy, their deeds of love and beneficence, to Him in the person of His saints. …

Now a season is coming when we shall have our principles tested. Let us begin to think what we can do for God’s needy ones. We can make them through ourselves the recipients of God’s blessings. Think what widow, what orphan, what poor family you can relieve, not in a way to make a great parade about the matter, but be as a channel through which the Lord’s substance shall flow as a blessing to his poor. As you look upon your own children, consider how many there are just as good and noble who have but little to cheer or make them glad. They may be orphans, with no home, no father, no mother, subject to temptations and influences calculated to lead them to ruin when these days of festivity occur. Who has a care for these homeless ones? Whose doors are open to them? Let the widow and the orphan be remembered.

But this does not embrace all your duty. Make an offering to your best Friend; acknowledge His bounties; show your gratitude for His favors; bring a thank-offering to God. … Brethren and sisters, eat a plain dinner on Thanksgiving day, and with the money you would spend in extras with which to indulge the appetite, make a thank-offering to God. …

Everything seems to have degenerated into mixing the spurious with the genuine. Thanksgiving is almost entirely perverted. Instead of being a day of solemn gladness and gratitude to God, it has become a day of jollification, self-indulgence, and gluttony. Self interposes for attention, for gratification, for indulgence. This is a thanksgiving and oblation made to self to the forgetfulness of God and all his benefits to us. Let nothing interpose to detract glory from God.

How much good might be done if we would make a right use of our associations with one another! Every one who has received of the heavenly benefits is under obligation to shed some light on the pathway of others. In all our associations we are to be witnesses for Christ. Then all those who truly love God will cease their idolatry of self. Let this be the case in the coming Thanksgiving. Employ your powers to a better purpose than in cooking a variety of food with which to gratify your appetites. Employ that time in becoming missionaries for God’s cause, seeking how much you can do to turn the attention from self to the Lord our Creator. Gather up the offerings. Set the mind to running in a different channel than has been your custom. Let your works correspond with your faith. See what you can do toward turning your thoughts heavenward in place of upon earthly appetite and selfish indulgence. Wisely improve your powers in gathering up the smaller and larger offerings for the Master, and thus present a true thanksgiving to God. … There have been so few true Thanksgivings to God! Everything has been turned from God and heaven to earth; and now let us make every effort in our power to turn the mind back to God, away from earth, away from selfish interests, and away from self-serving. We know but little of the experience of self-denial. We must know more of it, weaving benevolence into our daily experience. …

How many in the Christian world will upon this Thanksgiving obey the injunction of Christ, “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Instead of inviting those who have many good things in this life, and who cannot appreciate the favors of a feast, invite to your homes the needy, the poor, the widow, the fatherless. To the ones who have an abundance we have shown honor; but the ones who were really in need, who would esteem our favors as of great value, we neglect because they are poor, as though they did not belong to the Lord’s family. The poor as well as the rich are under God’s care. Then let us keep Thanksgiving in God’s own way, and no longer follow the customs of the world, selfishly heaping our favors upon a few favorites, and neglecting the ones precious in the sight of the Lord, though slighted and neglected by those who profess to be the children of God.

The pampered, the indulged, need to be in the place of the poor for a year, if not longer, that they might learn by experience what it is to be straitened in purse, to be humbled by slights, to be neglected, to want for sympathy, to put up with inconvenience, to lack many things necessary for comfort. This experience would give a different mold to the character. It would open eyes now selfishly blind; and when placed back where there was an abundance at their command, their sympathies, which are now sealed to everything but selfish interests, would become extended and deepened.

Brethren and sisters, will you this Thanksgiving live and act the Christian as well as bear the name?

The Review and Herald, November 18, 1884.