Perhaps for most people, thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving Day itself is often filled with good food, fellowship, and family gatherings. I have many happy memories of Thanksgiving Day and I cherish such memories as they are a reminder of God’s goodness.
Thanksgiving for Christians, though, is different from those who have not come to faith in Christ. For the unbeliever, Thanksgiving is often just a day to get off work, have a nice feast, and enjoy the pleasures of the moment. Indeed, such times can be very enjoyable.
The Significance of Faith
Faith is one of the more prominent themes of the Bible. Without faith, there is neither significance nor definition of the Christian life. All through the Bible, great emphasis is laid upon faith. Where there is no faith, there is no Christianity regardless of what men may call “Christianity.”
The purpose of this article is to discuss the great importance of faith in the life of the believer. For any who may not believe, this truth may seem of little significance. It is when one comes to Christ in faith trusting Him for his or her salvation that faith begins to be understood for its real significance.
The significance of faith includes at least the following:
So many things in life disappoint. We often have great expectations, but so many expectations are faulty, empty, and powerless. We are left feeling disappointed, sometimes crushed.
Many have faith in earthly religions, but apart from Biblical revelation, all religions eventually disappoint.
Sometimes, things preached in local churches disappoint as far as true blessing and satisfaction are concerned. For example, it is often stated that if one just gets busy for God, his life will prosper. There may be some truth in that thought, but the fullness of God does not come just because one does “good things” for God.
Good works are a very important part of our Christian life, but they are the result rather than the cause of what we do for God.
Being a stranger in a strange land is often not very comfortable. There can be many language and cultural differences. Moses experienced this. He had fled his own land to go to the land of Midian for safety. In due time, he was given a wife and then we read, “And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land” (Ex. 2:22).
Have you ever been in a desert place, perhaps not a literal desert, but a place where you felt all alone and you didn’t know how you were going to manage? Because of our common human condition, most likely we have all been there in one way or another. The apostles of Jesus knew such a place. When many people had come to Jesus to hear Him and to be ministered to by Him, and the day began to draw to a close, there was a problem - they were hungry! Note the text, “And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto Him, ‘Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals [food]: for we are here in a desert place’” (Luke 9:12).
Death! The very thought of the word brings a chill to one’s being. Perhaps this is the reason men have tried either to avoid the subject or to dress it up so as to remove the fear. Neither approach is satisfactory. The subject of death cannot be avoided. The reminders of it are everywhere present. We are reminded of it by the incidences of disease, accident, murder, suicide, old age and many other things. Neither can death be dressed up to make it something other than it is. Eventually, the reality of it must be acknowledged and dealt with.
A problem all people deal with from time to time is the problem of discontentment. We don’t like the circumstances of our life and we strongly desire something different. This was a problem for the nation of Israel in their journey through the wilderness.
First, we read, “…and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, ‘Wherefore have ye brought us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread’” (Numb. 21:4-5). True, life was not easy nor very pleasant for them in the wilderness. Still, God was angry with them and the result was anything but pleasurable.
When someone is asked to depart a gathering, it usually suggests a difference of opinion or interest. Sometimes it is not so serious, but at other times it is. This article is about some people who asked Jesus to depart from them. When He had cast the demons out of the demon-possessed men we read, “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region” (Matt. 8:34).
Is it not true that we often compliment ourselves on the great things we have done for God? We may feel good about the use of our talents, our faithful ministry in the church, or our giving to the work of the Lord, and many other things. These things are good and necessary in our service for the Lord. And yet, what if we turn it around and ask what good things God Himself has done for us? Actually, this should be the first question considered.
Most of us are familiar with making things of which all the prescribed ingredients are essential to the desired outcome. A cake baked without the sugar may look nice but its taste will be unpleasant. A glass of lemonade may look ever so inviting but, if the sugar is left out, it will be sour! The Bible speaks of walls built with untempered mortar with the result that the walls crumble when under stress.
In all of our Christian living and ministry, there is often one ingredient left out which causes a distortion of our best efforts no matter how good they may look to others. The missing ingredient is usually not such things as talent or hard work. These things we often give ample attention to.