MIND YOUR MANNERS PEOPLE
Thanksgiving is a time for family and feasting. It is the season of being thankful for the harvest God has provided. Families gather to reunite, laugh, visit, and eat together. Perhaps last year, you were not able to get together with your immediate or extended family. We pray that this year you will.
As you prepare for the Thanksgiving table, there are some key principles that Pastor Jack reminds us of. Come home, honor the host, wash your hands, pray, and enjoy the meal. This is also how we should approach the Lord’s Table. As we come together with loved ones at the Thanksgiving family table, let’s remember Jesus’ invitation to the ultimate Table of Thanksgiving.
The first principle is come home and embrace the family. For some of us, there’s at least one family member we aren’t looking forward to seeing at Thanksgiving. But the challenge is that we are called to embody the love of God and embrace them. The Corinthians miscalculated what the Lord’s Supper was about. Because of divisions in the church, people came together in cliques, and the poor were left out with nothing to eat. So, Paul strongly encourages them to show God’s love and forgiveness and embrace everyone in the family. (1 Cor 11:19-22)
HONOR THE HOST
Secondly, give appropriate praise to the host. Anyone willing to host family in their home for Thanksgiving deserves honor—if not a medal—even if the food they serve isn’t as good as yours. Go with gratitude, and give your host proper praise. Paul said, “I received [this table] from the Lord.” (1 Cor 11:23) Jesus not only serves the meal Himself, but He bought it and invites all His family to eat. When we do, we should thank the Host. The word “Eucharist,” often used for the Lord’s Table, is a Greek verb for “thanks” or “thanksgiving.” Our appropriate expression is to give abundant and heartfelt thanks.
WASH YOUR HANDS
The third principle is—wash your hands before you eat. That may seem unnecessary to say, but it’s one of the keys laid out by the apostle Paul as he wrote about manners for the ultimate Thanksgiving Table. Paul said, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup…For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1 Cor 11:28,31) Pastor Jack points out, “Don’t come to the table without looking at what needs God’s cleansing in your own life.”
A worthy prayer is fitting for this meal. This is a day when we ought to give more dimension to our prayer. At the Thanksgiving table, it’s appropriate to make time for gratitude—for the family, for the gift of life that has sustained us to this point. And thank the Lord for all His numerous blessings. Paul reminds us not to eat and drink in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:29) “Unworthy” means to fail to ascribe the full weight and worth it deserves. Therefore, our attitude in prayer should reflect this depth of gratitude.
FEAST AND ENJOY
Lastly, enjoy the meal for all it’s worth. This is not a day for dieting. Go for it! Pastor Jack said, “Over the years, I’ve found a tremendous joy in fasting a day or two earlier in the week to prepare my heart before the Lord.”
Just as Jesus had a fervent desire to call His disciples to come to dinner at the Passover feast, so He calls us to come to His Table and partake with understanding. Enjoy and celebrate His victory over the powers of darkness, proclaim His redemptive work in our lives, declare our dependence upon Him and one another, examine ourselves that we might grow as His disciples, and receive every blessing that His sacrifice for us has provided. That is the purpose of the Lord’s Table and the Thanksgiving Table.
Thanksgiving is a time for family and feasting. It is the season of being thankful for the harvest God has provided. Families gather to reunite, laugh, visit, and eat together. In this series Pastor Jack so eloquently describes the spiritual principles involved in the attitude of thankfulness. He shares the how such a merciful God is committed by covenant with you despite failures to your purposed outcome. Listen to these messages and let the Holy Spirit cause faith and hope to arise in you.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
This message was adapted from a Pastor Jack Hayford teaching.