The reflection below was written by Rev. Dr. Alfred J. Fletcher, acting associate general secretary for Mission Resource Development, ABCUSA.
27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.
44 At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, first-fruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms.”
Nehemiah 12: 27 & 44
Two things go together: dedication and thanksgiving. Nehemiah’s burdened heart looked forward to the day in which the wall of Jerusalem would be dedicated. Whenever something is “marked” as God’s possession, dedication ensues. In Christ, we have been “set apart” as God’s possession. We are loved in the Beloved.
Too many distractions keep us from remembering we are dedicated to God. It is important to mark the calendar, to set aside a day of remembrance to say thank you. Celebrating Thanksgiving is important.
My wife, Norma, and I still practice “saying grace” at our meals. It is a way of remembering the faithfulness of God our provider. We taught our children. Our son is teaching his children. It is important to stop and remember the goodness of our God and of Christ.
True dedication requires more than “lip service.” Too many ritually say grace, observe thanksgiving, eat and are satisfied. Watch football, sleep off the turkey and fixings, and come back again for a round of pie. We are thankful.
According to Nehemiah, true dedication requires sacrifice. We bear witness to God by giving as we have received. As God has provided, we are to provide. Bring into the storerooms the contributions, first-fruits and tithes.
There are people who have not experienced or acknowledged the grace of God in Christ. Folks who are not dedicated by grace. As the hands and feet of Christ, we are to love as we have been loved, to give as we have been given, and to grace as we have been graced.
May Thanksgiving be more than a calendar event or a before meal practice. May we be dedicated to the prompting of God’s Spirit to be generous. This is thanksgiving.
A recipient of lavished grace,