Cassandra Moton – Children’s Programming Pastor
Thanksgiving can be an incredible time of year. I love the decorations; I love pumpkin pie; I love having everyone over to our house for dinner.
My favorite part is frying a turkey every year. Well, we actually fry two and Jon (my husband) can be seen outside in the middle of our neighborhood street every Thanksgiving morning with two large turkey fryers. Why the middle of the street? So none of the houses could possibly catch on fire! Thanksgiving is family time, with laughter and lots of food. But it can also be really difficult for families as well. Money can add stress, family can add stress and our waistlines usually end up stressed out. But what is Thanksgiving really about?
When I was growing up, there was a season that was difficult. My dad had been ill and was going in and out of the hospital. Because of this, he had to take a leave of absence from work, which means money wasn’t coming in. My mom was working hard and trying to keep it all together, appearing that everything was fine. But everything wasn’t fine. It was hard. Really hard. And the holiday season was upon us. Extra money for a big fancy meal, decorations, and cute clothes for her teenage daughters was not in the game plan that year. We were just getting by. That was the year where I learned to take care of myself. An apple worked as lunch, Campbell’s soup was a great dinner and between the city bus and my bike, I could get everywhere.
But that’s also the year I learned to be thankful.
In the Bible, there is a group of men who meet Jesus. Only one of them gives thanks.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-16
There is so much in this passage I could talk about, but the one point I want to focus on is part of one sentence, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” Wow. This is a man who was condemned to death because of his leprosy. He would live the rest of his life away from his family and the ones he loved. He would only know and live with this small group of men, who also had leprosy, for the rest of his life. But then they met Jesus! And Jesus does what only He can do: He heals them. And of the ten men, only one goes back to Jesus, to the feet of Jesus, and says thank you.
That Thanksgiving all those years ago, without the food and decorations, we still had plenty to be thankful for. We had a car that worked, we had enough food, we had enough money to pay our bills, we had each other.
Jesus has given me so much since that year when I was in 8th grade. He has healed my heart from anger, hate, and jealousy, just to name a few. He has blessed me with so many opportunities to share Jesus with others. My family and I have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, and people who love us! I could go on and on with what Jesus has given me. And not because I deserve any of these things, but only because he loves me.
What has Jesus done for you? When was the last time you knelt at the feet of Jesus and said “Thank you”?