Pastor Dale E. Austin Luke 17:11-19
We’ve been hearing a lot recently about income inequality. The idea isn’t that everyone should share in the wealth of the country equally, but that everyone should be able to share fairly. Of course, that isn’t happening and the disparity is getting more pronounced every day. This inequality becomes clearer when we hear that the national economy is recovering: the stock market is up, unemployment is down, personal wealth is on the rise. Yet. . . most of us have yet to feel any real impact from this recovery. Why? Because the overwhelming proportion of the gains being realized are going directly to the wealthiest one percent of citizens. The rich are, indeed, getting richer – much richer – while the poor are getting poorer and the middle class has all but vanished.
In a land where people all too often hoard their wealth and try to find ways to gain even more, we need a national observance to remind us of who is ultimately responsible for all that we have. When then basic tendency is to proclaim, “Look what I have accomplished,” which leads to a greedy and selfish desire to hold onto it. . . . Thanksgiving reminds us that is it only by God’s grace and blessing that any of us are able to enjoy whatever wealth we have, no matter the scope.
The holiday observance serves as a reminder that we should give credit where it is truly due. God, and God alone, is responsible for whatever we have. It all comes from God, and in the end we can’t hold on to it forever.
Somehow, seeing the day from this perspective, it just seems so incredibly incongruous that businesses would use such an observance as an excuse to exploit their workers and amass even more wealth. The purpose of the day becomes totally lost.
Imagine, if you will, the change in our society and in the world as a whole, if everyone would stop to remember the true source of all blessings.
Imagine the change if everyone would adopt that same spirit of gratitude shown by the tenth leper in today’s passage from Luke.
We didn’t amass those blessings on our own; God had a hand in there. Such awareness, if it fosters genuine gratitude, also fosters a spirit of generosity. If we remember to give God the proper credit for what we have, we can’t help but be grateful and generous. It comes as naturally to us as it did to that Samaritan leper who couldn’t thank Jesus enough for what he had done.
Thanksgiving may be only a day, and the next day it will be “business as usual.” But we can always hope – and I would hope that it would be a part of our Thanksgiving prayer – that everyone will begin to catch the true spirit of the day and remember the true source of all our blessings.
If it happens, it will be one of the greatest miracles of all time. Imagine, just imagine, where it could lead!
It begins with us being genuinely grateful for all with which God has blessed us. Where it goes from there, only God knows.