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Thanksgiving in the Marketplace

Guest Post by the C12 Group Paul’s exhortation to us, “To give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5:18), must have been especially challenging for the Pilgrims when they gathered to celebrate God’s providence on that first American Thanksgiving day in the autumn of 1621.  Those of us who feel burdened this Thanksgiving by current economic conditions should take a moment to put ourselves in the shoes of the Pilgrims.

After fleeing English religious persecution in 1609, the Pilgrims settled in Holland for a decade, where Dutch freedom enabled them to live and worship as they desired but also introduced unwanted threats and temptations to the godly way of life the Pilgrims desired.  This prompted 110 of them to ultimately sail to the ‘New World’ in 1620 to seek safe haven where they might build a Christ-honoring community.  In exchange for using sailing vessels and supplies, they promised seven years of labor on behalf of their English backers.  Weakened by the cold 65-day trip from Plymouth, England, they finally settled in what they called Plymouth, New England in late November, 1620.  By that first winter’s end, their numbers had dwindled to less than 50.

Following that first brutal winter, in March of 1621, the desperate remnant was visited by a man that Plymouth Governor William Bradford described as a “special instrument sent of God for their good.”  Squanto, a local Indian, was introduced to them by another local Indian, Samoset, who actually spoke limited English from prior interactions with English fishermen.  Squanto, however, spoke English very well, as God had providentially given him a crash course in learning the ways of the English and Europeans over the prior few years.  Squanto had been enslaved by earlier English explorers and had spent three to four years living in Spain, England and Newfoundland before again resettling in the area of his birth.  During his time away, his tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic, and now Squanto was able and willing to help the Pilgrims ‘make a go of it’ in New England.  Even though Squanto only lived another two years (he died an apparent Christian), his beneficial impact was so significant that the Pilgrims were amazingly able to celebrate restored health and God’s bounty just six months into their new adventure!  This hardy Christian remnant helped to build New England and, ultimately, an independent ‘nation under God’ just 155 years after that first trying winter.

So, what direct application does this history have for us as we celebrate Thanksgiving in 2010?  Unlike the Pilgrims, we generally have ample food in the pantry and are able to live, work and travel in temperature-controlled comfort.  Our issues seem to relate more to the fear of losing what we have, or anxiety over possible unmet hopes and plans.  Yet when we recall our limitations, in contrast to God’s boundless sovereign power and the promise of eternal life in Christ, we can celebrate God’s promise to work through the lives and trials of His children with our eternal best in mind.  He is doing this already and in spite of what we see or feel each day.  In dimensions and timeframes which we’re often completely blind to – like how He had prepared and later sent Squanto to help the Pilgrims – God is already working in us, through us, and around us for our eternal good (Ro 8:28).  He is even using this stagnant economy to draw us nearer to Him and instruct us in our healthy dependence on Him.  This is a day for Christian business leaders – those who have been entrusted with much and are privileged to be His stewards and ambassadors – to remember God and give thanks.  Psalm 106:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.”  What will you do this Thanksgiving to help your family and business stakeholders more deeply consider how and why we’re thankful to our gracious God?!  
Have a Blessed and Fruitful Thanksgiving,
Your Friends and Co-Laborers in Christ at The C12 Group   

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posted by Justin Forman | 11.22.2010 - 5:55 AM


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