Watercolor painting by E. J. Kirsch

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Nov 22, 2017

“Be Grateful – Be Careful” 11-22-17

I John 2:12-17
Thanksgiving Eve, 2017

Our postmodern American culture has made it difficult for us to celebrate Thanksgiving.  As we prepare to celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving tomorrow, we are and will be surrounded by a lot of stuff.  Our tables will bear more food than anyone would dare eat at one sitting.  Our homes are bursting with more possessions than most of us ever thought we would have.  Our automobiles and televisions have more electronic features than most of us know how to use.  And just when the Material things of this world seemed to attract most of our time and attention, they were joined by a new electronic reality of images and places that are not real except in our computers and minds.  In those other worlds we can also accrue wealth and empires and conquer enemies that seem to be unimaginable except that someone did imagine them.
It seems ironic but perhaps it is another kind of “ic” that the day after we offer Thanksgiving we are encouraged to go out and buy more and more stuff for others and ourselves.
I don’t think I need to encourage you to be grateful to God for all of your stuff, but you should, he has given you all that you have and the life and health to enjoy it all.
But this evening, I want to get beyond that.  In the Psalms that we read this evening there are verses of gratitude to God for plentiful harvest and herds of domesticated animals and plenty of rain and all of the things we need to sustain our lives.  And we can certainly give our ascent to those verses and thoughts.
In other verses we read of God as the one who keeps his people safe from their enemies and gives them victories.  Again, I think we all agree.
I am sure we are thankful for all those things.  This evening I am mindful that on this date in 1963 the president of our nation was killed, I think we are all grateful that in spite of 2 attempts we know about, our presidents have been safe in the years since.
And there were verses which spoke of one who was to come who would provide great salvation and peace.
And then I read those verses from I John 2, which I think should remind us of two things.  First of all, we have been blessed to know and believe in God who came to us in Jesus.  The author of the letter tells them that they are those whose sins have been forgiven, they are those who know God, they are those who have with God’s help conquered the evil one from running their lives; They are those who have the word of God living in them.
All of those things are or should be true of you, and you should be grateful for all of them.
But then the author warns them against loving the world and the things of the world.  Because the world and all of its stuff is passing away.  It will all end one day.
So, as Christians called to celebrate Thanksgiving, we need to remember who we are and whose we are.  We belong to God.  We are to love him and be grateful to Him.
We are to enjoy the good things of this world, but not to love them.  We are to thank God for them.  And we need to remember that not all of the things of this world are good, some are bad for us and will tend to separate us from God and his true blessings. 
So, be grateful, but be careful.  God has blessed us in many ways.  Let us give thanks.  Amen.

Pastor David Horner
Faith Presbyterian Church
West Lafayette, IN 47906