Monday, November 15, 2010

The Real Thanksgiving

Last week at Wednesday Night Worship we focused on Thanksgiving.  We began the night by have the students write on a piece of paper their Needs, Wants, and What They're Thankful For.  After spending a little bit of time making these lists out I asked them which list they spend the most time focusing on every day.

We then took a look at the true first Thanksgiving with Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:3-7.  Cain brought fruit to offer God while Abel brought the best of his animals to offer.  God had regard for Abel but not Cain, meaning he welcomed Abel's gift.  Cain had not only given his best product to God, but he his heart behind the gift was sincere.  As we look at this and how it took place in Genesis, we also looked at this in modern terms.

I believe if Cain and Abel were celebrating a modern day Thanksgiving that this is how it would play out:
Cain:  Wakes up, mainly looking forward to completely gorging himself on food.  He is thankful to be out of school because he can be lazy.  When it is time to eat he wants to be served first.  When it is time for the blessing over the meal, his mind wanders off to the football game about to begin on tv, and what his friends are going to be doing later.  Later his family gets together to sit down and discuss what they are thankful for, which annoys Cain because he cannot believe his family is so cheesy about things.  Before going to bed Cain decides to say a quick prayer of thanksgiving- for all the cool stuff he has.

Abel:  Wakes up, thankful for even the breath he breathes knowing that it is a gift from God.  Since he has time off from school, he decides to devote that time and energy to God.  He is glad to spend time with his family and thankful that he has them in his life.  After the meal he is quick to help cleanup.  Afterward he makes a list of all the things that he is thankful for and thanks God for each one of them.

I think then if we take it even a step further and think about how they might worship in a modern church service it would go like this:
Cain:  Only glad to come to church to socialize.  He has trouble staying awake and thinks its very boring.  He cannot wait for the preacher to get done.  He does thank God- for saving him from hell.

Abel:  Glad to come to church so that he can worship with other believers.  He enjoys fellowship with other church members, but his main focus is to fellowship with God.

In each of these examples:  Genesis, my modern Thanksgiving, and worship service is that in each Abel is experiencing true worship of God.  Abel can do this because he is practicing personal worship.  You cannot worship in a corporate setting if you are not having private worship of God.  One aspect of this means focusing on your "thankful" list more than your "needs" or "wants".  

So the question is, are you worshiping God?  Are you truly thankful for Him and what He has done for you, or are you more concerned with the things you need or want in life.  Are you giving God your best worship?

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