Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Being Thankful

“This is the ritual of the sacrifice of the offering of well-being that one may offer to the Lord. If you offer it with thanksgiving, you shall offer with the thank offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour well soaked in oil. With your thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being you shall bring your offering with cakes of leavened bread. From this you shall offer one cake from each offering, as a gift to the Lord; it shall belong to the priest who dashes the blood of well-being and the flesh of your thanksgiving sacrifice shall be eaten on the day it is offered.”(Lev. 7:11-15).

I would like to thank G-d that we don’t have to offer such sacrifices anymore! “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matt. 9:13). Then again, do we let G-d know we are thankful for his blessings? In Leviticus there are numerous offerings for sin and repentance, but there is only one offering for thanksgiving. Why? Is it because we constantly sin? Here is just an idea that I have had in my head, and it’s been percolating for some time. If we where truly thankful for what G-d has given us, wouldn’t we not sin? How about, if we took more time to thank G-d, and show him we are thankful, then we would spend less time “sinning”. I don’t just mean by thanking G-d in prayer. But, why not thank G-d in our actions as well? I am thankful for the duck pond here at school. I am thankful because the ducks stay at the pond year round, and it’s a great meditative place where I can go and find peace. Instead of praying to G-d and saying “I’m thankful for my mommy, cars, the duck pond, etc.” Why don’t instead, I do something to give back to G-d as a way of thanking him? I could pick up pieces of trash that I see lying around, or I could feed the ducks. Just doing simple acts of kindness could also be simple acts of saying “yo G-d, I love you and thanks for this awesome place. I am so thankful for it that I am going to take care of it.” If more people took time to not just do acts of kindness, but acts of thankfulness I thing everyone would be smiling more. I mean it’s a win, win situation. G-d knows you love him, it’s beneficial for others and it gives you warm fuzzies inside.

The first Thanksgiving feast celebrated by the pilgrims and the Native Americans was just this! The Native Americans showed the pilgrims how to cultivate land and grow vegetables. As an act of thankfulness, the Pilgrims had a feast in dedication to the Native Americans; not only showing off there prosperity, but also sharing there love and gratitude towards the Natives for showing them how to live. The offering of thanksgiving described in Leviticus can be done year round. There is no one specific day you must do it. Why not show we are thankful year round as well, and not just on the American Thanksgiving holiday, which has been stripped of almost all meaning anyways. Why not everyday, try to find something you are thankful for and do give something back in return? I am going to try to do this from here on out, and I encourage everyone else to as well. “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So when we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all” (Gal. 6:9-10).

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