As our Thanksgiving Holiday is celebrated this coming Thursday, November 28, we pause for a moment to reflect on the incredible meaning behind every "Thank You" that has ever been said. It turns out that a "Thank You" is one of the great witnesses to the Lord and the Gospel message that could be given. And the interesting thing about saying "Thank You" is that we all say it to someone, whatever we believe. So if you follow the real source and meaning behind every "Thank You" you end up in the loving arms of the Lord. Let's take a brief look at a typical "Thank You" in this week of Thanksgiving and see how it literally opens the door to see the Lord, Heaven and His love for the world.
You see, the Lord has hard wired Himself into our lives in a way that is almost unseen or unknown by people through the simple words "Thank You". As an example, if a person opens the door for us at a typical store or restaurant most of us would say, "Thank you!" We thank them because they didn't have to do it for us. We are wired to say something in response. Honestly, it's hard not to say something and just walk by and give the person holding the door a "cold shoulder". Lots of people don't open doors for others, so it makes those who do all the more special. You might say that opening the door for someone is an expression of grace. It is an underserved, gracious gift that people are not required to do. In addition, it is also a real joy to open that door for someone else. If we stop and think about it, it may even be a greater blessing to open the door for others than have it opened for us.
What is largely missed about this courtesy is that this small act is a window into the Gospel. The Lord opened the door to Heaven for us by His grace alone through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We enter Heaven through the open door of His love. In Revelation 4:1-2 we see the Apostle John getting a tour of Heaven that starts from going through that open door of God's grace to see the Lord in all His glory.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
The Lord did not have to open the door to Heaven or it wouldn't have been grace, but something we deserved. No one ultimately deserves having people open the doors of life or Heaven for them. If we think about it there really isn't anything that we "deserve" in life. Life is not about being "deserving" or being "entitled", but rather life is about experiencing amazing grace when we walk through the open doors of life and are moved to say, "Thank you". When that happens we enter the story of redemption and why our Lord came into the world. The heart of the Gospel message is our Lord doing something wonderful for us in Christ as we leave this fallen world of sin behind and walk through the open door of His grace and love to a new and everlasting life.
Now if you stop and think about it, our lives are really full of people opening doors for us that they didn't have to do. My parents opened a LOT of doors for me as their son they didn't have to do. I have had countless people do things for me that made my life better. The wonderful place I am in life today is because of those undeserved open doors others opened for me. So every time someone does something for us that is undeserved we are naturally moved to say "Thank you!" And when we say "Thank you", we enter into the story of redemption and give a witness to the greatest work of redemption through the Cross and how our lives as Christians are a "Thank you!" to the Lord. We end up realizing that the Lord didn't have to do it for us, but joyfully did it anyway because of the joy the Lord had in redeeming us by His amazing grace. Yes, opening the door to Heaven and life everlasting through the Cross was a joy to the Lord as we hear in Hebrews 12:1-2 regarding the joy the Lord had in redeeming us from our sin.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So, during this week of Thanksgiving we stop and celebrate all the people in our lives that opened doors for us and did a host of other things that caused us to say "Thank you!" Each of those people gave a witness to the Lord and His redeeming love, even if we or they didn't see it or understand it at the time. Because these "Thank you(s)" are witnesses to the Lord and His graces are all around us, it is hard to not believe in the Lord. To reject the Lord requires us to suppress our heart's natural response of saying "Thank you!" If you don't' think this is right just try to say nothing the next time a stranger opens the door for you somewhere. Honesty, it is hard to do that because our hearts wants to say it naturally.
Sadly, when we stop saying "Thank You" to the Lord and others we can often end up in spiritual troubling place. Our society is filled with ungrateful people that have lost any understanding of grace. We are beginning to even suppress our thankfulness to the Lord in America by not saying "Thank You" to the Lord in our public discourse. As a result, Thanksgiving sometimes seems to be less and less about the Lord and more about time off with family.......or "Turkey Day" as it has come to be known by some. It is almost as if our society is starting to look for ways to NOT thank the Lord. When a society loses this heartfelt appreciation to the Lord and others, a society will begin to grow cold in its affections for one another. In such a world, few doors are opened for anyone. We end up moving from a gracious culture to one of expectation and entitlement. The wonderful experience of gracious giving starts to be lost and we lose the meaning and purpose of our lives and how they should point to the Lord and His Gospel witness in Christ.
I will always be glad and thankful for the people in my life that opened all the doors for me. I will always be thankful for every person in my life that ever did things for me they didn't have to do but wanted to do. And most of all I will remain eternally grateful to the Lord for giving me a Savior I didn't deserve but have in my life this Thanksgiving season. How about you?
So this Thanksgiving season, let's stop and reflect on saying "Thank you" to the Lord and all the people around us the Lord has sent us. Let's go out this week of Thanksgiving and count our many blessings and say "Thank You" to as many people as we can, starting with the Lord Himself. All of us at the Carlson Report pray you have the BEST Thanksgiving ever with the people the Lord has put in your life for your blessing and thanksgiving to Him.