With Plenty or Little
The Apostle Paul, who spent many years of his life preaching and teaching people about Jesus, also spent quite a bit of time in prison for doing it. Some people did not want him to share his love for God and his thankfulness for everything God had given him. So, they had him put in prison. And that meant Paul had very little at times...really, really little.
But even in prison, Paul was thankful. He even wrote a letter while he was in prison, telling his friends that he remained thankful...with plenty or little.
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn't have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Why was Paul still so thankful, even in prison? He knew the secret to a thankful life was knowing Jesus and relying on his strength. Think about it this way. Jesus gave up everything to save us. He gave up his throne in heaven and his life here on earth. He knows what it means to have absolutely nothing. We will never be able to give like Jesus gave. But, knowing that he gave everything gives us strength to live in every situation...with plenty or little.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I invite you to remember another group of people who gave thanks with plenty or little: the Pilgrims who started this holiday of gratitude. They had lost a lot leading up to that day. They had left behind the only place they had ever lived. They had lost many friends and relatives; some had died on the journey from England and others had died from sickness after they arrived. But God provided them with new friends among the Native Americans. And these new friends taught them how to survive and grow food in their new home. So, they celebrated what God had given them.
God always provides what we truly need...because all we truly need is Him.
Read Psalm 107
This Psalm describes several experiences of God's people...which experience would have been familiar to the Pilgrims? Which experience would have been familiar to Paul?
Talk about verse 43 with your family. What does it mean to "see in our history the faithful love of the LORD?
Make a verse image for Psalm 107:1 - "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." Write down the words first; then draw around it. You can use imagery from the rest of the Psalm or from the first Thanksgiving. Or, you can make it abstract.
At Thanksgiving dinner, talk about Psalm 107:43 with your family. What does it mean to "see in our history the faithful love of the LORD"?