We are thankful, O God
November 19, 2012
Pastor Eric Nelson, St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie

Our heavenly Father is not the kind of deity who puts his creation in place and then sits back and watches it run as a detached spectator. He is the kind of deity who seeks to be more involved in what he has made. More specifically, he seeks to provide for us and take care of us, as a father provides and takes care of his children.

After he formed the man from the dust of the ground, for example, he did not leave him to get by on his own. God set the man in the garden he himself had planted. In this garden were all kinds of trees that were pleasing to eye and good for food.

In his Small Catechism, Dr. Luther describes what kind of God we have. This is no aloof deity who keeps to himself in the celestial realms. He is a personal God. That is why Luther begins his explanation of the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed with the first-person singular pronoun, “me.”

In his explanation of what it means to believe in God the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth, Luther states, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures.” Not only did God make “me,” but Luther further adds that God “richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”

At Thanksgiving, we are reminded of how God provides for each one of us. During this holiday, many of you will take your place at a great feast. Before you will be all sorts of evidence of his Fatherly divine goodness and mercy. That is why it is appropriate to give thanks.

It is our duty, as Luther informs us in his explanation of the First Article, to thank and praise, serve and obey him. If such a duty was part of the regular rhythm of our lives, we would enjoy so much more peace, joy, and contentment.

Every day we would remember how God has provided for us. The clothes on our backs, the food in our bellies, and the roof over our heads are all from him. They all reveal his Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, which are given without any merit or worthiness on our part.

If we have such a God who loves us and provides for us, why would we need to worry or be anxious?

But, we do worry. We do become anxious. The economy is still dragging along. The bills keep piling up. The job is not as secure as it once was. Our health is struggling. All of these concerns begin to overcome us. What results is that instead of looking to the Creator, our focus is on the creation. God, therefore, becomes neglected.

Because of our sinfulness, we constantly turn from this God who provides for us and is concerned about us. We are convinced that we can manage without him. We know what is best. We don’t need him to interfere. It usually doesn’t take long, however, before we experience anxiety and stress.

Do not neglect this God who is deeply concerned about you. Trust in his Fatherly divine goodness and mercy.

Because of his divine goodness and mercy, God has provided a Savior. As our Savior, Jesus endured the death and condemnation of our sins in our place. This is why he was betrayed, arrested, falsely accused, rejected, beaten, and crucified. Because of his sacrifice, you have been given peace in the midst of all the stress and anxiety around you.

In Christ, you see how much God loves you and what he was willing to do for you in order to redeem you. He would not even spare his only Son in order to have you as his own. He would let his beloved Son die because you mean that much to him. He would raise him up again so that you can be assured that you have forgiveness.

How can we worry when we have such a God? This is no aloof deity, detached from his creation. This is a God who has great love for us. This is a God who desires to provide for us and take care of us.

Think of that when you take your place at your great feast during this holiday, and give him thanks for all that he does for you as his beloved child.