The best way to enjoy your feast today:
#1. Receive it with thanksgiving.
Paul writes, “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5)
This covers both permission and proper enjoyment.
If you asked the apostle, “WHAT am I permitted to eat and drink?” The answer would be: whatever you can—in good conscience—receive with thanksgiving.
If you asked the apostle, “HOW am I to eat?” The answer would be: with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Feasting with the spirit of thanksgiving in a win-win. It multiplies the pleasure of eating. G.K. Chesterton puts it this way: “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
#2. See it in light of God’s aseity.
This means that God is his own fountain of life. He is life itself. He is self-existent.
God does not draw from another’s well of life. He is not downstream from another. He needs nothing. And precisely because he needs nothing, he is the PERFECT giver.
Listen to how Paul connects the two. God is not “served by human hands, as though he NEEDED anything, since he himself GIVES to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)”
#3. Receive it as proof of God’s goodness.
The Thanksgiving feast in front of you is slam-dunk cosmic courtroom evidence of God’s existence and goodness.
A few months ago I heard a former-atheist (now Christian) describe how awkward being thankful previously felt. He said, “I had all this gratitude, I didn’t know where to put it.”
Gratitude is also awkward for polytheists. They don’t have a singular, final target of their thanksgiving. When Paul spoke to pagan polytheists in Lystra he preached that God “made the heaven and the earth and the sea and ALL that is in them… He did not leave himself without witness, for he did GOOD by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 17:15,17)
So, with every rainfall, every harvest festival, every stomach-filling, heart-satisfying bite of food today, we can say, “Checkmate, atheists. God is real, and is good!”
I once ate lunch with my atheist friend Daniel at a restaurant.
I lifted my plate and said, “Thank you, Jesus, for this food.”
Daniel said, “You should thank the cook instead.”
So I lifted my plate again and said,
“Thank you, Jesus, for the cook.”
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, friends.
And thank you, Lord, for the cook!