"We are all beggars. This is true." These were the words on the note stuck in the pocket of the lifeless body of great theologian Martin Luther. Luther knew that we all are beggars, in need of Christ to open our eyes. Through the miracle of faith, the Spirit opens our eyes to see the unconditional grace and love of God.
“We are all beggars” gives great perspective to having a Happy Thanksgiving during this 2020 year- a year marred with a pandemic, with expressed hatred in word and action and in the struggles that many have experienced through fire and storm. In this 2020 Thanksgiving, it might be the easier route to list all the things we’re not thankful for! For some, its lip service to share thankfulness. For us as Christians, we do well to follow Luther’s admonition to “thank and praise, serve and obey Him.” But how?
From the prophet Habakkuk: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength” (Habakkuk 3:17-19). Habakkuk spoke of terrible times- did he know about 2020?! Yet look at his confession- “I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength.”
I have made a Thanksgiving list and I hope you will take the time to make one as well. When you make your list, I trust it will become lengthy with both spiritual and physical blessings. After that list is made, you’ll probably be able to join the Psalmist in singing, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12-13).
Maybe even consider using these words from a Thanksgiving hymn as your “calling on the name of the Lord”-
“We worship You, God of our fathers, we bless You;
Through trial and tempest our guide You have been.
When perils o’ertake us, You will not forsake us,
And with Your help, O Lord, our struggles we win.
“With voices united our praises we offer
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
With You, Lord, beside us, Your strong arm will guide us.
To you, our great Redeemer, forever be praise”
(Lutheran Service Book, 785:2,3).