Thanksgiving ~ Being Empty Handed
This week I had the wonderful privilege of speaking at our Adults Alive Thanksgiving Luncheon. What a fun group of folks. I didn’t want to share the same old ~ same old turkey, Plymouth Rock, bow your head and thank God for all the calories we are about to consumeth. I did however express a different spin on having a thankful heart.
In today’s culture, most would say and believe (fueled by the media and Hollywood) that to HAVE equals happiness. The more we can get, the more our hands are FULL of STUFF, our contentment level rises. But it is not just ‘stuff’, the items that fills us up. There are the STUFF, the troubles of life, stresses, concerns, these too fill our hands, (representing our lives). As I walked to the platform to speak, my hands were full of STUFF, everyday objects, so full that I fumbled with them. I brought no attention to these as I spoke. At one point, I handed a few items to a gal to ‘hold for me’ (I am a walker as I speak).
Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” The Hebrew word for ‘give thanks’ is yada. You’ve heard it used in slang, to emphasis ‘etc. etc. etc.’ or ‘blah, blah, blah.’ Yet THAT is as far from the meaning used here as it can be. Yada ~ thankfulness, worship with outstretched hand, and to confess. We confess much in our daily lives, expressed in our attitudes, actions and what we say. Are we confessing God? How is our attitude when we do so? Are we confessing that He is GOOD, or are we pretty much stuck in the wilderness of complaining (see the book of Exodus).
My favorite example of a strong confession of thankfulness, praise was Thomas in the New Testament. Poor Thomas, can you imagine being cast FOREVER as ‘Doubting Thomas’? After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He spent ‘quality’ time with His disciples, one such instance was when He approached Thomas, stretching out His nail scarred hands, ‘Look and feel’. Thomas’ confession? “My Lord and my God!” What a heart of worship! I choose to believe that Thomas may have fell to his knees at that moment. Confession, being in agreement, and aligning ourselves in like manner. My Lord and my God!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Yada means to worship, praise, to confess… but there is MORE. It is also translated as to throw, to cast. Hm… are we not told to “Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) Cast, literally mean to pitch — toss that puppy!
YEARS ago, before all these fancy Playstation games, we used to play a game on the computer at work (yes at work, head hung) I believe it was called Dungeon. It was an adventure, strategy game. We would go through corridors and passage ways. On this journey we were to pick up items along the way, such as food, water, map and supplies. YET, when coming to a door, we were to find the key- dilemma – my hands are now full. I had to choose what I was going to lay down, and release, so I can pick up the key to unlock the door. Empting my hand got me through the door.
Here’s a question I would like to pose. Could thankfulness, the releasing of our cares and concerns to worship Him, be the key to unlock the doors in our life? As the commercial on TV states: “What’s in your wallet?” may I offer, “What’s in your hand?”
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…” some translations word it as ‘cease striving’ and know that I am God. Cease striving, is rapa (raw-faw) it means to slacken, to release and relax, to let drop. It conveys the word picture as to hold something tight in your hand, then to relax your grip, and allow it to fall. Thus an open – and empty hand. Release those stresses, concerns and the STUFF of life…THEN we can know and experience God as designed. I think we all would be AMAZED at what God will put in our hands … HIS stuff!
Remember the stuff in my hands while speaking? I released them into a basket and asked the folks if it was a distraction to see me carry all that, they agreed it indeed was. Our stuff is a distractions to us AND those around us. We even at times ask others to hold some of our stuff for us, now our stuff is in their hands too. I am NOT talking about ‘sharing a burden’, I am directing our attention to the un- necessary STUFF – fretting – anxiety – items that hold our attention.
Thanksgiving … the yada of our heart. We take our stuff, with outstretched hands, and give them … um.. throw them to God (O He can handle it!) Now our hands are what? Empty. Being empty handed means God can now fill them with Himself! You’ve heard the saying “More of Him, less of me.”
Thanksgiving ~ being empty handed.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday ~ In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD…”)
* my daily blog http://butgod.blogspot.com/