A Feeling More Filling Than Food

There are four lectionary readings for Thanksgiving Day. Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Psalm 100, Philippians 4:4-9, and John 6:25-35. Together, the scriptures form a beautiful image of gratitude and joy. As we gather around the table with our families today, I pray that we will take thankful to the next level and remember the Bread of Life and Living Water God sent to a starving and thirsty world. It is far more filling than the best food in this world. The people wanted, and still want, food. Sustenance is essential, but Christ offers something much better.

John 6:35-38 The Message – Eugene Peterson

When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?” Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.” They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.” They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!” Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

Christ bids those who search for food to seek something better. He knew the importance of being fed and the frustration of being hungry, but He also knew that the Bread of Life and the Living Water He offers give new meaning to hunger and thirst. They take thankful to a level beyond anything I can comprehend on my own. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can take the Bread of Life and Living Water and share it with others. The more I share, the more I have. True thanksgiving makes me want to make a difference in the lives of others and helps me love in a way that changes everything. I love the wonderful food during the holiday, but I love the fellowship even more. Sharing Christ’s precious love with those in my path is the best of all. It is a feeling much more filling than food.

Bread of Life

Living Water (Nae's Nest)

A Grateful Heart :)

God’s grace fills my heart with the desire to worship Him with humility and gratitude. Thanksgiving is a time to stop for a moment and give thanks for God’s love and grace. Like Christmas, the world complicates Thanksgiving in attempts to make it something other than what it was intended to be.

The Chickasaw in me has mixed feelings when it comes to the holiday and would like for it to be about accepting differences and understanding that we need those differences. I believe that was at the heart of the first Thanksgiving. We cannot make it in this world without help. As those early Native Americans came to learn, giving someone a hand often leads to them taking a leg, an arm, and a heart.

I suppose it is all part of human nature, but Thanksgiving is a time to think of thanking in a new way. We gather to remind ourselves that we have been given much and we are here to give. The lessons this year have helped me when it comes to giving. My giving has been unhealthy and left me depleted. I’m learning to give in a different way, and I’m finding that I am blessed and filled by healthy giving. I’m most thankful this year for the lessons in giving and the changes in my heart that have resulted.

Thanksgiving is about helping and giving my heart to those in my path. I’ve learned hard lessons, as have we all, when it comes to helping. I’ve been duped and taken more times than I care to recount. In those situations, I remember the first Thanksgiving. The intentions were good, and hearts were in one accord as they were all in the same boat. Giving is about knowing that we are all God’s children and in the same boat. I’ve learned that it isn’t about fixing and fusing. That’s changed the way I give and live:)

Gathering at church this morning and with my family this afternoon will remind me to be grateful for the love God has placed in my path. I hope I will also remember and give thanks for the fact that we are all beautifully different and bring something special to His table. God needs for me to love others, differences and all; that is at the heart of Thanksgiving. Knowing that God is in all and loves all makes the holiday truly a holy day as I see others as God sees them and give as He desires.

The lessons of late have left me speechless and filled with wonder. They remind me of an image from years ago when God showed me that Christ is a beautiful mosaic made up of all His sweet children. At a distance, I see my loving Savior. As I draw nearer to His side, I see others in Him. That changes the way I look at the world, and it changes the way I see God. We are all His beloved, and I am thankful for Christ’s precious love which binds us together in a way that only it can. It fills my heart and spills over into the world if I leave it alone and let it flow through me with the help of the Holy Spirit:)

Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you in a beautiful way today:)