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“Think, Thank, Thunk”
Ephesians 5:19-20


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Thanksgiving Eve—November 21, 2012

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Our Thanksgiving meditation is based on the verses from Ephesians printed on the cover of this evening’s bulletin: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In old English, the tenses of “think” were originally just like the tenses of “drink”: drink, drank, drunk; think, thank, thunk. You see, thanking is actually a form of thinking, because we thank God when we think of all the blessings he gives us. 

Think and thank; thank God for all the blessings of this life, as we just read from Martin Luther’s explanation of the Apostles’ Creed in the Small Catechism: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.  He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have.  He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.  He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.”

Think and thank; thank God for all the blessings of this life, and for the Good News of forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life in heaven. Paul says in 2nd Corinthians, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not counting men’s sins against them.”  That is the greatest blessing of all: your sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ.  As Luther says, “[He] has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with his holy, precious blood, and with his innocent suffering and death.”

“All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, oh, thank the Lord, for all his love.”  Think and thank.  That’s why we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, that’s why we’re here this evening worshipping the Lord: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”

Earlier this week a Missouri Synod chaplain who just got back from Afghanistan told me that last year when Thanksgiving rolled around he was asked to give a presentation explaining this holiday for the other members of the coalition forces and the local Afghans working on the base, because none of their countries has quite the same holiday, or a tradition of the government setting aside a day for its citizens to give thanks to God for all his blessings. 

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful, uniquely American holiday, a testimony to the Christian foundations of our nation, as can also be seen from Abraham Lincoln’s beautiful 1863 Thanksgiving Day proclamation, with which we opened this evening’s service.  But, when you consider all God’s blessings to you, earthly blessings and spiritual blessings, is just one day a year an adequate sacrifice of thanksgiving?   Indeed, Paul says that we should be, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Always giving thanks to God,” by remembering the Sabbath day and worshipping here in the Lord’s house, as Psalm 100 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

“Always giving thanks to God,” by giving back to God a portion of his gifts to you, as Psalm 96 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.”

“Always giving thanks to God,” by living a godly, Christian life, as Paul says in Ephesians, “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” and in Philippians, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

 “Always giving thanks to God,” by sharing your blessings with those in need, as 1st John says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

“Always giving thanks to God,” by laboring faithfully at whatever earthly work the Lord has given you, as Paul says in Colossians, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . for it is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

“Always giving thanks to God,” by caring for your family day-by-day, by showing love and devotion to your spouse, your children, your parents, as Paul says in 1st Timothy, “They should first learn to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family . . . for this is pleasing to God.”

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  For you, as a Christian, Thanksgiving isn’t just a day, it’s devoting your life to him, because he gave his life for you.

Think, thank, thunk.  Thanking is actually a form of thinking, because we thank God when we think of all the blessings he gives us.  As Luther says, “All this he does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy . . . that I may be his own and live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. . .  for all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey him.  This is most certainly true.”

Amen.

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