English writer and lay theologian G.K. Chesterton once said, “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.” In relation to our topic of Thanksgiving, allow me to share with you an atheistic tragicomic that greatly reiterates and reinforces Chesterton’s famous quote.
An atheist was walking through the woods; admiring all the “accidents” that evolution had supposedly created. “What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!” he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 7-foot-tall grizzly bear charging towards him. He ran away as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the grizzly was closing in. Somehow, he found the strength to run even faster than before; so scared, that tears began welling up in his eyes. He looked again, and the bear was even closer now. His heart was pounding, and he tried to run even faster. In his quickened pace, he lost his footing, and abruptly fell to the ground. He frantically rolled over to pick himself up, but the bear was already over him; reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.
At that instant the atheist cried, “Oh God help!” and in that moment, time came to an abrupt and sudden stop. The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river had stopped flowing. A bright light then shone upon the man, and a voice came out of the sky, “You deny My existence for all these years, teach others that I don’t exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. However, I am willing to forgive you now and give you a new start. Now Am I to count you as a believer?”
The atheist, now looking directly into the light, hardened his heart and slyly said “No…no, however, do me just a little favor; perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?”
“Very well,” said the voice.
The light went out. The river flowed once more, and all the sounds of the forest resumed. The bear then dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed its head, and spoke: “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”
You can probably guess what happened next, so I won’t go into detail here.
But while on the topic of thanksgiving, I’ve been inspired to share a message on the subject using the following Scriptural portions:
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess 5:18 ESV)
It is a Biblical mandate that we ought to have a thankful disposition at all times, even when we are going through adverse circumstances. The Bible tells us that the infinitely wise and Sovereign God would use all circumstances (be they good or bad) for our eventual welfare: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28 ESV).
Take, for example, our beloved Saviour. Christ did not become the Saviour of the world by virtue of His extraordinary sermons or miracles–as astounding as they were. Rather, it was by virtue of His God-ordained atoning death on the Cross, entailing maximal suffering borne out of obedience (SeeHeb. 2:10,5:8-9). It’s amazing to think that our Lord, while breaking the “bread” with his disciples, still saw fit to give thanks, despite knowing that this bread symbolized his own body would be broken beyond recognition. (SeeIsa 52:14) Being fully aware of God’s eternal plan, He knew that His imminent suffering would usher Him into eternal glory (See1 Cor 11:23-24/Rev 3:21)!
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for Thy redemption plan, which entailed the indescribable suffering of our Saviour. Always enable us to stir-up our gratitude in the same way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Thanksgiving…ALL the Way!” mini-series, please click here.)