Give Thanks for What?
Extended reading: Matthew 11:20–28
Give Thanks for What?
“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: ‘Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work’ ” (Matthew 11:25 MSG).
The Lord be with you.
You have much for which to be thankful. Of course, that’s no news. If you’re a classroom teacher, you’ve expanded upon that theme with your students. It probably shows on your bulletin board and take-home art projects. Strange, isn’t it, that Thanksgiving is a national holiday rather than an ancient, liturgical Christian observance?
People have much for which to be thankful. Many don’t know whom to thank. It might be their lucky stars, goodness, or heavens. Maybe themselves! Of course, that’s no news.
Thanksgiving may be the only day set aside, even among some believers, to reflect upon blessings from God. The temptation is to express gratitude for the dramatic, spectacular, or miraculous. Yet, Jesus’ thanked the Father for sending faith to ordinary people. Wow … we’re ordinary people! Of course, that’s no news.
How often do you thank God that you’re ordinary? Wouldn’t it be better if you were sophisticated or that you knew it all? No, if you knew it all, you might deprive yourself of calls during dinner for conversation about earthshaking issues such as why you forced Phrygia to learn phonics or made Ananias memorize those inhibitive Ten Commandments or to negotiate the policy of conducting Sunday School during soccer games. And if you were sophisticated, you probably couldn’t afford to dress that way on a church worker’s salary. But worse yet, you might really believe those things about yourself and lose sight of your need for Jesus.
Jesus knew how to pray. Though one might argue that He was talking to Himself, He succeeded in teaching us how to converse with Him and what to talk about. In the context of today’s text, Jesus was peeved—and it wasn’t about His pets. Or maybe it was. He was angry with those who should have been most inclined to believe that He was their Savior—those we might assume would be closest to Him.
To be ordinary, in God’s eyes, is to be clothed in what He gives us to wear—the robe of righteousness, which I’ve always pictured as being rather plain in appearance but also a dazzling white that would put bleach commercials to shame. To be ordinary means that we’re cognizant of our sins and repent of them—neither too proud nor too terrified to confess and receive forgiveness. To be ordinary means that no matter how much we know—even if it’s about religion—we cannot know our Savior without the gift of faith that comes from God. Of course, that’s no news.
Thank God. No news is Good News.
Praise to You, Lord Christ for the gift of being ordinary.
Pray. We have so much for which to thank You, dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—not the least of which is faith in our Savior and Father. Thank You most of all for leaving heaven to become ordinary—and extraordinary, for living, dying, and rising to take away our sins. Help us to make ordinary all those we teach. Amen.
Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.
Director of Publications & Communications
© 2005 Lutheran Education Association
Scripture quotations identified as MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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