Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I've already mentioned Starck's Prayer Book, and since Wednesday's devotional thought comes from the Old Testament, I thought I'd share this particular exhortation on this Thanksgiving Eve. Enjoy!
Devout Christians Thank God for the Ingathering of the Harvest
"And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take back My grain in its time, and My wine in its season, and I will take away My wool and My flax, which were to cover her nakedness" (Hosea 2:8-9).
If we were to look for a glorious and great blessing apparent to all people, we would undoubtedly find it in our annual harvests. It is God who has protected our sowings in the earth during the winter, who caused them to sprout, grow, and bear fruit during the summer, averted hail, winds, and storms, and filled our barns and cellars with His blessings. On the other hand, if there is a favor that seems trifling and contemptible to our world, and for which God is thanked least of all, it is the annual harvest. Ungrateful humanity imagines that these things simply had to happen according to the laws of nature--things have to grow and God has nothing to do with it. Accordingly, God's anger is aroused, and by His just judgment He often causes the crops to fail, reminding everyone that the ground cannot produce anything apart from the Lord's will, and without without his blessing nothing can grow.
Believing Christians view the matter differently. When at harvest they see the full ears of grain and the vines loaded with clusters of grapes, they lift up their eyes to heaven, and praise the almighty Creator, giver, and preserver for the blessings received, and acknowledge that it is because of Him that so many grains come from one seed and such luscious fruit from an ordinary wood. They praise God's preserving providence, which provided throughout the year timely rain, and graciously averted thunderstorms, drought, hail, and floods, and guarded the crops. And when the time had arrived that they see the grains harvested and brought into the barns and the grapes crushed for wine, their hearts is stirred and they receive all these gifts with grateful hands. They also make use of them and enjoy them with thanksgiving. They know that is it God who feeds them, provides for them, and keeps them.
Yes, they let God's goodness lead them to repentance. If we thank a benefactor who gives us a garment or something for our support, and are careful not to offend him, why should we not praise the greatest Benefactor who gives us all things?
Indeed, Starck's words are every bit as helpful in the 21st Century as they were when they were written in the 18th Century. May you all be brought to see the blessings of the LORD, and give thanks to your heavenly Father. For all good gifts come from His hand. Amen.