"Be Like the Pilgrims"
This November we will give thanks to the Lord for the bountiful blessings He has bestowed upon each of us. Whether society sees us as rich or poor, weak or powerful, hidden or popular, our God has blessed each of us mightily through Jesus our Savior and the Spirit our Sustainer. As some will envy and some will partake in the perfect Thanksgiving meal, we must remember generations have given thanks to the Lord of Harvest long before even those that celebrated what we hold as the first “Thanksgiving” near Plymouth Rock. Yes many a romantic scene is painted of the Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down in unity at a splendid feast, yet there is a far more powerful lesson to be learned. We can gain quite a quantity of knowledge about faithfulness and durability and even learn why it may be fruitful to “Be Like the Pilgrims”.
In all reality that first “Thanksgiving” was not a beautiful picture as we may surmise. The Pilgrims had suffered disease, death, a storm tossed ocean, frigid weather, and a serious lack of knowledge about the new land and harvest. The early picturesque relationships with the natives were not completely true, as fighting had begun, and persecution and danger awaited for the natives and retribution for the new settlers. The Pilgrims themselves also had some extreme Puritan beliefs in their day that wouldn’t mold well with our Christian thinking, and crude action and intolerance for those who were out of line became a necessity for survival as a new colony. Yet the beauty in that first “Thanksgiving” is found in survival and the will to take a chance for your beliefs, the unity found with some of the Native Americans, and the gratitude given to God.
The beauty found at the first “Thanksgiving” can be an example to each of us as followers of Christ in the modern world. First, survival and the willingness to take a chance because of what you believe in. The Pilgrims would struggle mightily for religious freedom and to practice their faith as they felt appropriate. Imagine if we as believers had that kind of will to celebrate Christ vs. the ways of the world we live in! Second, the unity found with those who were different (the Native Americans). Obviously we know the settlers to the new world and the Native Americans would not always get along. Yet the Pilgrims found common ground in celebrating the bounty of God’s gifts with those that had aided them in survival, even though many did not believe in the same God, didn't have any cultural similarities, and looked extremely different. Imagine if we could do unity like this in a world where we seem to be so divided even in a free nation and a free church! Finally, the Pilgrims showed gratitude to God even through their struggles and suffering. Imagine if we showed that kind of gratitude all the time!
Yes, imagine if we were like the Pilgrims, standing up for our faith, surviving the day, seeking to build bridges of unity, and always giving thanks to God! Well we can do it with the Spirit at our side. This November remember to always practice gratitude and you will find yourself humble before God and open to the power of His mighty Grace. That grace begets many gifts the Lord has already ordained for each of us, just waiting to be lit a flame! So Give Thanks, Eat Your Turkey, and Be Like a Pilgrim!
In the Peace and Love of Christ,