After Jesus feed the five thousand and walked across the Sea of Galilee, the people realized that he had left them. So they went seeking him.
When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.
“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”
Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”
They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”
They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.
I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” John 6:26-40
Did you ever think about the fact that Jesus’ “job” is to “put us on our feet alive and whole at the completion of time”? This process called “life” is the means by which God’s Will is carried out by Jesus. He is even now setting us on our feet and preparing us for the entrance into eternal life.
So as we contemplate Thanksgiving, let us remember God’s Will. Let’s cooperate in it. Let us not jump in front of Jesus but instead be in step with Him, following when we need to follow, waiting when we need to wait, being still when we need to be still.
Let us remember the friends and family that are going to join us and the joys and challenges those interactions will produce. Let us remember to be on guard against falling into the same patterns of behavior that do not honor God. Let us sit in prayer and thanksgiving in advance of Thanksgiving Day so that we are prepared to bring Glory to God.
Prepare. Prepare your mind, your heart and your soul to bring Glory to your God. Let us join in prayer:
Lord Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth,
We give thanks that you called each of us.
We give thanks that once you have us, you will never leave us or forsake us.
We give thanks that you love us . . . unconditionally.
We give thanks that you have entrusted each of us with people who are precious to you and therefore should be precious to us.
We give thanks that who your Son sets free is free indeed.
We give thanks that in your house, there is a place for each of us – yes, we are your children.
We give thanks that you are for us, not against us.
And we Believe, Lord, yes we believe.
Because we believe, we confess and repent of our sin.
We confess and repent of our selfishness, our arrogance, our anger, our jealousies, our unfaithfulness.
We confess and repent of our greed and malice, our sexual misconduct and adulteries.
We confess and repent because we have worshipped idols of all kinds including – money and power and position.
We confess and repent of our failure to take care of our bodies, our minds, and our souls which make up the temple of your Holy Spirit.
We confess and repent of our gossiping and whining and our complaining.
We confess and repent of our failure to turn to you, to listen, to go when you have called.
We confess and repent of our worry which exhibits our distrust in you.
We confess and repent of our failing to pray first, failing to wait upon you for your Will to be done.
We confess and repent for intervening in situations based on our own assessments instead of yours.
We confess and repent because we have judged people and situations that we really have no understanding of.
We confess and repent of our failure to extend grace – your grace that you freely give to us.
We confess and repent for failure to pray for the leaders in your Church, the leaders of this state, this country and your world.
We confess and repent of our dishonor of you and your son Jesus Christ and your Holy Spirit who lives and moves in we who believe.
Reach each of us in our brokenness and weaknesses.
Rid us of our unbelief – rid us of anything that is not of you.
You have promised us protection through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and so we claim your protection for each of us and ask that you continue your protection of us and our families, of all your saints, and of your Church.
As temples of your Holy Spirit, we ask you to fill us to overflowing with the fruits of your Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Oh Lord, may we give thanks to you as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
May we love you with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds and all our strength and our neighbors as ourselves.
In Jesus Name we pray. Amen