As we celebrate thanksgiving, you may be reluctant to thank God because you haven’t yet seen his provision. You’ve asked him to provide, but the answer doesn’t yet seem apparent.
Faith is thanking God in advance. A good example of this attitude of faith is the story of Joshua. After Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, into the Promised Land, they went to take over the country and its capital city, Jericho. It was the most fortified city in the world. There was no chance a bunch of ex-slaves were going to take it over. It was considered impenetrable. But the people of God marched around the city's perimeter - the walls of it - for seven days. First in silence, then later thanking God in praise. The whole time they were thanking God in advance that He had already delivered the city into their hands. On the seventh day, after thanking God in advance, the walls came tumbling down. Faith is believing that God is moving the pieces into place even as you ask. If a reputable person were to say to you, “I've got a gift for you” and gave you a check for $5,000, would you wait until after you cashed it to thank him? No. You'd thank him right on the spot. You haven't cashed it yet. The money's not in your hands, but you'd thank him in advance because you knew you could count on it. The check is good. And so are God's promises. Faith is thanking God in advance, believing the answer's already happened - you're just waiting to see it.
Let me urge you to demonstrate your faith by giving thanks. To recognize that even though you can’t see right now how it is that God is supplying what you need, that He is working to accomplish what needs to happen in your life. I think of Jesus at the table of the last supper with the disciples. He knew he was on his way to the cross. He knew that God’s provision would come in the form of a cross. But even so, he gave thanks to the Father. Will you give thanks in advance?
Be sure to gather everyone up for a prayer of Thanksgiving that's a real prayer of thankfulness. Don't miss the opportunity to worship God this week. And be loud about it! Can you miss it? Sure you can. It's a short week for most folks, which means you might be horribly busy for one, two, or three days. You might have some time off, which means you've got some honey-do chores at home, some tasks at church, or some Christmas shopping to do at all the big sales. If you're traveling, you've got to get going. If you're hosting the family, you've got to cook. You've got to get to the grocery store. You've got to call the turkey help-line again and remember how to get it done.
In a holiday week, it's possible to get all the way through Thanksgiving without ever stopping to be thankful! Don't do that! Commit to it, and do it. That is worship.