Thanksgiving first came about in 1621 and as the story goes, when the newly arrived settlers were hungry and unable to tend for themselves, the natives of the land stepped in—feeding and helping them. Obviously we cannot be sure of the level of accuracy in this tale given the passage of time, yet, even if the entire story were false—and even given how the natives would soon be beyond poorly treated—there are still lessons to be found.
Fellowship and giving. That is what the story of Thanksgiving teaches; it is what the day is meant to be about. However, over the centuries the way it is celebrated has shifted… and it is seemingly on an exponential climb toward forgetting the heart of the day.
Today—and more so each year—the focus is less on fellowship and giving and more on surviving the day, perhaps enjoying family, but quite possibly spending half the time glued to the TV watching football or going out for some flash sale. And with many USA-born residents becoming less patriotic, and the increasing—though important—remembrance of what happened after 1621 to the native populations… Thanksgiving does not always bring us together as a nation.
One family or church might be coming together with a focus on Godly fellowship, giving, and principles, while another family might be trying to avoid hot topics such as politics or religion while they devour a turkey and some pie. Fellowship—in part—remains for those who have a family or place to go, but the love and lessons of giving do not always go with it… which is why, more than ever, it is important for us to walk in fellowship and giving not only on Thanksgiving, but EVERY SINGLE DAY!
There is Power in Fellowship:
Jesus taught us the importance of fellowship, He imparted the wisdom that God Himself dwells in our midst when two or three gather in His name. This is told to us in Matthew 18:20,
“…where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Further He showed us through His very actions that He believed in the importance of fellowship. From allowing children, the sick, the poor, etc. to come to Him when others tried to stop them; to even bringing His disciples near the place He went to pray before His crucifixion—when they themselves fell asleep.
“Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”—Matthew 26:40-41
By spending time with God and our fellow Believers in fellowship, prayer, laughter, and tears, our spirit man feasts. Our hearts are restored to joy while temptations fade.
Over and over God tells us it is important. That fellowship, community, and being of one mind in Christ has power; just as it has responsibility.
“…be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, …you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”—1 Peter 3:8-10
Our coming together is commanded by God, and yet, it is for our benefit. We would not have the Holy Spirit living within us without unity amongst God’s people—or of course, unity between Jesus, our Father God, and the Holy Spirit. For, it was when those early Believers were in that upper room, acting, loving, and thinking in one accord, that earthly chains of separation were broken. That a relationship and direct line to God was set inside us.
Without hearing the Holy Spirit speak God’s will, simple, everyday choices would be difficult. God ordering our steps—while possible—would not be nearly as fluid or perfect. God knew we needed the Holy Spirit, even when we ourselves did not know Him. And because God’s people walked in unison in that room—as we should—God moved.
Today, because of thousands year old unity; of Jesus and His Father, of those in the upper room, and of the Blood and Name of Jesus, we are able to HEAR GOD Himself whenever we are willing to come into alignment. We can know the working power of God!
“…they were all with one accord in one place. … And… were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”—Acts 2:1 & 4
Therefore, let us walk in one accord with our fellow Believers. Let us know that while we may not always agree in every respect, we are always to be in agreement that God is above all. That the ways of the Kingdom of God are perfect.
We are to vessels of peace and love for the Kingdom; growing as we build one another up. Because, just as Jesus sent His disciples out two by two, we are to walk together to protect, raise, and help one another do God’s ultimate will.
“And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.”—Mark 6:7
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”—Matthew 18:19
“…those who believed were of one heart and one soul…”—Acts 4:32
When we walk together in unity and fellowship, we are made stronger. When we come together and agree the will of God to happen, miracles are made manifest. God’s power shines.
Yet, in all this it is important to remember that it was God Himself who said man should not be alone; it is God who created the math of two becoming one—be it One New Man, husband and wife, or as children of God.
“…the Lord God said, ‘it is not good that man should be alone…’”—Genesis 2:18
Benefits of Giving:
As with fellowship, giving too has its own reward. In fact, it is largely in giving that we set our own storehouses in place—our own blessings. For as Luke 6:38 says,
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Yet, we were not commanded to give ONLY to receive, but because it causes within us something to grow. The good fruit of God that allows us to not only walk in greater closeness to our Father, but to be a light and witness to the world. It is in the giving that we become more like our Heavenly Father.
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”—Matthew 7:17-18
Jesus said that it is better to give than to receive. He showed us through action and Word that Godly power comes through walking in alignment with Him—giving cleanses our souls as it reminds us of His precious Blood given for us. It takes us into a place of thankfulness, love, and praise.
In giving we act as the hands and feet of God. We fulfill prophecies and personal callings—Kingdom calls.
God does not require “our” money, after all, it is only through Him that we can gain it…
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…”—Deuteronomy 8:18
What we and He requires is obedience. Not obedience out of obligation, but out of love. A love for the will of God to be made manifest. To give not merely the bare minimum, but an abundance with great joy and love. God given love. By giving out of that love we not only bless others, but that blessing is paid back to us. We are preparing the soil so we can bear good fruit—just as Jesus did.
It is indeed better to give than to receive. Not only of our finances, but of our giftings, callings, and even our time. When we walk in fellowship, giving abundantly out of the abundance God has placed within us, God moves. We begin to walk in greater power and authority. We open up the windows of Heaven not only for ourselves, but for those around us.
This year, as we walk through another Thanksgiving, let us do so in love. Let us through action, word, and deed, be a light and witness to everyone we meet. Let us remember that God is the greatest giver and that we are to be like Him.
Let us walk in God’s love and find joy in the doing.
“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water… assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”—Matthew 10:42