As long as God has been good to His people, they have given thanks to Him. In the days when the earth was young and harvest was done, Cain and Abel brought their offerings of thanks to god. god had been good to them and blessed their work in the field and with the flock. From God's hand they had thankfully received many good things; therefore, they chose the best, and with sacrificial use of fire gave it back to God. It was all from Him; it all belonged to Him. Abel's sacrifice was with glad and faithful gratitude and God was pleased.
So on down through the patriarchs, God's men made their sacrifices of thanksgiving. The response of God's people to His gifts is thankfulness. Each day for each person has its gifts, and from each person, therefore, thanks are owed to god each day. Now thankfulness to God is something we cannot do well by ourselves in isolation. Right thanking means right using, and right using means sharing.
In boarding school, when a lad receives a parcel of cakes and good things from his mother, he is surely a contemptible fellow if he hides the parcel in his locker and only sneaks to it secretly to eat all the good things by himself. We take it as natural that he will yell for roommates and they will devour the parcel with exclamations such as "What a lucky fellow you are!" and "What a colossal cook your other must be." Happy times those parcels from home with the hearty sharing and the fun and thanks of one's starving friends. That is the sort of fun God wants us to have with all the parcels He sens us from home. Only He sends so many and sends them so regularly that we get so used to them that we we do not recognize them as from Him, share them, and so do not have full joy in them and do not truly thank Him.
--Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 318. Harvest Festival. Deuteronomy 16:13-15
I like the image of the parcel from home--the joy of it, the reminder of home, the sharing of the goodies.
(The) Writing Life
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