There are two great events happening for us Americans in the month of November. The first happens on the first Tuesday. This is the day Americans have the privilege of voting for candidates to serve as government officials. This is a high honor and benefit which we enjoy as Americans. The second event is our national day of Thanksgiving which we set aside to give thanks to God for his blessings toward us.
These two events are significant. They speak of our great responsibility and our great gratitude. We must recognize that while we work hard, we are not the source of our success.
Genesis 1 and 2 tell the creation stories, demonstrating that everything that came to be, came from God alone. The Apostle Paul wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
For by Him [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him ~ Colossians 1:16 ESV
So all that we have to work with is from God.
What we do with what we have is also a gift from God. Moses instructed the Israelites, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to Your ancestors, as it is today.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV. The problem exists for human beings that when they become prosperous, they forget to thank God for it. That’s the danger of worldly wealth. That’s why Jesus used very specific terminology when He explained His parable of the sower. He said:
Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things entering in choke the word and it becomes unfruitful ~ Mark 4:18-19 NKJV
This month of November, pray that the Lord God will lead and strengthen you as you work, vote, worship, visit, and celebrate. And remember: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” ~ James 1:17 ESV
Pastor Tim Vanden Langenberg has been the pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Wausau since July 2008.