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Pastor Rick Ezell: Don't forget God

Thanksgiving Message from Rick Ezell, Pastor Greer First Baptist

Published on Thursday, November 22, 2012

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Rick Ezell, Pastor of Greer First Baptist Church

Rick Ezell, Pastor of Greer First Baptist Church

By Rick Ezell

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done" (1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV).

Nine-year-old Charlie was asked to say the blessing for the Thanksgiving meal. Charlie was always the polite one of the boys. Billy was the mischievous one. Charlie began his prayer by thanking God for his family and his friends, naming them one by one. Then he began to pray for the food. He called every item by name: the green beans, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, corn, bread pudding, the apple sauce, dinner rolls, the pecan pie, and the chocolate cake. Then he began to pray about the turkey. He prayed, "That turkey looks so juicy and good. Thank you, mom, for preparing it. Thanks for the car that brought the turkey home from the grocery store. And for the man at the market who bagged the groceries and put them in the car. And thanks for the meat department worker that put the turkey on the shelf, for the worker who took the turkey off the truck, the driver of the truck who brought the turkey from the meat packaging company, for the ones who cleaned the bird and wrapped it up, for the farmer who raised the turkey."

Charlie paused. "Have I left anyone out?" he said to himself.

By now the whole family was wondering when this prayer was going to end. They were hungry and ready to eat.

Just then Billy blurted out sarcastically, "Well, you've thanked everyone but God!"

Without missing a beat, Charlie said, "I was getting to him."

It seems that at Thanksgiving we thank everyone and so we should. We should thank the people that have contributed to our lives, our forefathers, and our family and friends. But let's not forget God. He is the source of all our blessings.

Someone once remarked that the worst of all possible moments for an atheist is to feel truly thankful and have no one there to thank. While most of us are not actual atheists; sometimes we act as practical atheists. An actual atheist has no God to thank. A practical atheist has a God to thank, but never thinks of doing it. We never get around to God.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday at a time in American history when Americans were prone to see their rich country-and their good fortune to be born in it-as a direct gift from God. They spoke of the heritage of the Pilgrims who gathered after the first harvest to thank God for the bounty that was theirs. According to tradition, their good friends the Indians brought turkeys and venison and together they enjoyed a great feast in primitive Massachusetts.

Turkeys by the millions now die in November and pudgy Americans (at least 76% of us are overweight) will snore with the television remote control rocking on their stomachs, having fallen asleep watching the gridiron gods wrangle out their contests in noisy bowls of Astroturf. But who received thanks for the good life?

Will we ever get around to God? Or have we simply forgotten him?

America is proof that the blessings of God can wean us from remembering the necessity of God. John Henry Jowett once said, "A man's devotion is apt to dwindle as he becomes more successful. Our piety does not keep pace with our purse. Absorption in bounty makes us forgetful of the Giver. We can be so concerned in the pasture that the Shepherd is forgotten. Our very fullness is apt to become our foe."

We truly have much to be thankful for, don't we?

To be grateful, after all, is to see God and to recognize that all of life is a gracious gift from his hand. We are all indebted to God. This Thanksgiving Day and everyday for that matter, I hope you get around to God and thank him.

Rick Ezell is Pastor at Greer First Baptist

Copyright 2012, Rick Ezell.

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