The celebration of Thanksgiving was originally set aside as a day to thank God for His provision, but for many it’s become like the ever popular “moment of silence.” Years ago when there was a national tragedy, people didn’t become momentarily silent as a sign of respect. They prayed. That was the normal thing to do. It was also once normal to have God at the center of Thanksgiving. As Christians we should celebrate Thanksgiving every day, but for some a thankful heart can wane.
Recently I received the following question from an Associate Pastor. He said, “The last couple of months something has happened to me on the inside. I don’t know what it is but I have lost all desire for ministry. I still pray daily and read the Word, but things of ministry have no interest to me. I just cannot seem to stir myself back up. Any advice you think may help?”
I did have some advice that I thought would help. I told him that every day I ride a bike for 1 ½ miles and really push myself. But one day when I got back from the ride I was so out of breath I felt like giving up. Instead of giving up I pumped the tires until they were hard as rock, and came back the next day from the ride feeling like I could do push-ups. Air leaking out of tires is slow and quiet, but its result is devastating for those who are in a race. Christians are in the ultimate race, so we need to regularly put the air back into our tires and seal the cap tight. If the joy of a heart of thanksgiving has been deflated, the only effective way to get pumped about God is to think seriously about our sins in the light of His moral Law (that He sees our lust as adultery, etc.) and our consequent just damnation.
Then we should think about that writhing body pinned by nails so that we could avoid Hell. Scripture says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrew 12:1-2).
There are also five other practical exercises you can do to get yourself pumped and joyously thankful to God. Start your day by holding your breath for a full 60 seconds or longer. That will make you thankful that you can breathe. Then don’t eat anything for 24 hours. Just drink water. That will make you thankful for food.
Next, visit a convalescent home for 2-3 hours and chat with those who still have a mind to chat. That will make you thankful for your mind and mobility.
Finally, spend some time in a graveyard, soberly reading the names and dates on the tombstones. Think about the person whose body is beneath your feet–about how long they lived and where they will spend eternity. You will probably get a clue by what’s written on the tombstone. That will make every day Thanksgiving for you because of what Jesus did on the cross.
If these things don’t work, you need to go back to square one and do this quick test: www.NeedGod.com
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