“Entering with Thankful Hearts”
My first years in school were in a private, Christian school. My mother thought I was big for my age and with my December birthday enrolled me in first grade at five years of age, which the public school would not allow. She obviously wasn’t factoring in athletics at the time, which fortunately didn’t turn out to be a big deal when the family moved to small town Alabama. But one of the benefits of the Christian school was their emphasis on Scripture memorization and how it gave me a love for learning signal Bible passages “by heart.”
One of those passages was Psalm 100, which we learned to recite around Thanksgiving. I still remember it in the Kings James Version and its call for God’s people “to enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise (v.4).” What I did not know at the time but came to understand later was that this invitation is extended throughout the Bible. Indeed, the entire message of the Bible is a call to rejoice in the favor that God provides to all who trust their way to Him.
This Sunday’s Thanksgiving worship will focus our attention on that invitation to God’s people as they were preparing to enter into Canaan, the land of Promise. What makes this passage so important is how it instructs us to make thanksgiving a continual practice at not just a yearly one. The more we say thanks, the more we begin to practice it. If, as the saying goes, God abides in a grateful heart, I think you can see how essential this instruction becomes.
So, join us this Sunday for a combined service at 10 a.m. as we enter into worship with a thankful heart. Only then will our praise be heartfelt and our gratitude sincere, necessary expressions that will secure God’s favor for the future He has for us to know and a provision of grace that in the meantime will be most sufficient for our every need. The earlier we learn those lessons the more they will stay with us and the more blessed our lives will be.