The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thanksgiving is No Time for Fasting

THIS TIME OF THE YEAR IS ONE OF THE BEST. Fires in the hearth, special meals with family and friends, memories relived and made anew. It is a time of sights, sounds, and smells that ignite the senses, bringing joy to heart and the home. It is a time of remembering and rejoicing in the good gifts which God has provided. In other words, it is not a time for fasting.

Fasting of course is that spiritual discipline of giving up of something so that a person can refocus their attention on seeking the Lord more diligently. It might include the giving up of a certain number of meals, of choosing not to watch television for a number of weeks, or laying down the elements of a certain hobby, all for the purpose of taking that “extra” time to focus more intently on the Lord.

Now in light of all the food being consumed during the holidays, it might be a good thing to give up a few meals, but I would like to suggest that rather than giving up something during this time of the year, we choose rather to experience the fullness of all of God’s blessings by sharing those blessings with as many people as possible. Rather than laying aside, I invite you to welcome others to join you in enjoying the cornucopia of God’s goodness.

Over the next couple of months, invite someone to your home for a simple evening of enjoying the fruits of the Lord’s bounty and the warmth of Christian fellowship. During this season of thanksgiving, instead of withholding, I say let us give with thankful hearts. Let us give words of encouragement to one another. Let us give of our resources for the continuing work of God’s kingdom. Let us reach out and give to those who may seem to have been overlooked by our society, but certainly not by God and His people. Let us extend to others around us the grace which God so freely extended to us.

This kind of thanks-driven giving is exactly what the Lord desires of His people. Let us therefore live out the words of the Lord, as recorded by the prophet Isaiah,

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.