Would You Have Given Thanks?
I Thessalonians 5:18
November 18, 2007
INTRODUCTION: The purpose of my message this morning is to cause us to think--to think about the meaning of gratitude and thanksgiving. The Bible says, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Does that really mean what it says? Does that mean that even when I'm hurting, when I'm sick, when friends have forsaken me, when the cupboards are bare, I am still supposed to be grateful?
ILLUS: If you had been a pilgrim in the year 1621, sitting down to your Thanksgiving dinner, considering what you had been through, would you have given thanks? Consider what they had experienced, the men and women who broke bread together on that first Thanksgiving.
They had uprooted themselves and sailed for America, an endeavor so hazardous that published guides advised travelers going to the New World, "First, make thy will." The crossing itself was very rough; and in addition, the Mayflower was blown off course. Instead of reaching Virginia, where Englishmen had settled 13 years earlier, the Pilgrims ended up in the wilds of Massachusetts. By the time they found a place to make their new home in Plymouth, winter had set in.
The storms were frightful. Shelter was rudimentary. There was little food. Within weeks, nearly all the settlers were sick. Many never recovered.
"That which was most sad and lamentable," Governor William Bradford later recalled, "was that in two or three months' time, half of their company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvy and other diseases.... There died sometimes two or three of a day."
When spring came, they tried planting wheat, but the seeds they had brought from Europe wouldn't grow in the stony soil. Friendly Indians showed them how to plant corn, but their first crops were dismal. When supplies ran out, t ...
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