Enough is Enough: A Thanksgiving Prayer By Scott Rodin
Finding The Way Back to Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving week has become a most peculiar season in American life. I love this day, it’s my favorite holiday of the year. But each year when it comes around, I find myself saddened by the disjointed nature of the activities of the week that seem contradictory at best and antithetical at worst.
A Familiar Pattern
On Wednesday we drive to the houses of friends and relatives to prepare for Thanksgiving while listening to Christmas carols and shopping in stores already laden with every assortment of Christmas products and potential presents. On Thursday we try to set aside the Christmas crush just long enough to have a meal around which we give thanks to God for all that he has provided for us. And on Friday, we rush to the stores or work feverishly online to buy all the things we think we still need to make us happy.
While this may not fully describe your experience, I hope you will at least agree with me that the commercialism of Christmas is invading this once sacred day set aside to focus on God’s provision and our gratitude.
I believe the antidote for this tension is the cultivation of a spirit of holy contentment. Contentment gets a bad rap in Christian circles because so often it is equated with complacency. Nothing could be further from the truth. Holy contentment means that we believe, in the depths of our heart, that what God has provided us is enough. It bears witness to our conviction that God is a faithful provider. That God knows our needs and meets our needs. It means we believe the truth from Psalm 23:1, that the Lord is our shepherd and in him we have everything we need.
More Than Enough
More importantly, holy contentment steadies our gaze on the God who provides, not just on the provisions themselves. And that is the key to experiencing God’s holy contentment. It frees us to look beyond our tendencies to evaluate whether all he has provided is enough and cultivates the conviction in the depth of our spirit that He is enough.
This year, regardless of our circumstances, regardless of the state of the world and our legitimate concerns for its future, what would it mean to you to enter Thanksgiving with a spirit of holy contentment, solely because the one who has provided what you need is all you need?
Know What’s True
To help us, let’s consider a hidden gem of truth found in a most familiar story. In John 6 we read of the feeding of the 5,000. We know the story well. A massive crowd is hungry, and the disciples are frantic. They locate five loaves and two fish, but clearly understand they are woefully insignificant to meet the needs of the hungry crowd. After having everyone sit down, we are told in verse 11,
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.”
Did You Catch It?
Jesus takes a loaf of bread, the most meager of resources fully insufficient to even begin to meet the needs in front of him, and instead of praying to God for a great miracle, or crying out to God for all that they don’t have and asking God somehow to meet their needs, or focusing on the lack of God’s provision in the face of such overwhelming want, Jesus does something quite remarkable. He gives thanks. Be careful here, we may be tempted to say that he gave thanks because God was about to do a miracle. But we misrepresent scripture if we try to read that into this verse. All we’re told is that he lifts up this simple loaf of bread, looks out at the massive crowd, and gave thanks to the Father for what he has provided.
I believe Jesus demonstrates for us a heart of holy contentment. He knows that God is enough, and as long as the Father is enough, what he provides will always be more than adequate to meet the needs before him.
My Prayer For You
My Thanksgiving prayer is that as we all gather with family and give thanks, we will do so in the same spirit of holy contentment. Whatever may be churning in our heart that is leading to feelings of insecurity, fear, or concern over what all the future might hold, may we remember this simple act of Jesus and give thanks to a Father who always is and always will be more than enough.
R. Scott Rodin is Senior Consultant/Chief Strategy Officer for The Focus Group. Over the past thirty-eight years, Scott Rodin has helped hundreds of organizations improve their effectiveness in leadership, fund development, strategic planning and board development. Be sure to read Dr. Rodin’s newest book is titled, The Greater Mission.
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