You Get What You Get (Prayer Devotional for the week of November 24, 2013)

My kids learned a saying in preschool, and it has stuck to this day: “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” It could refer to any issue from what color crayon you want to whether or not you feel like eating lasagna for dinner. Who says grass has to be green? Just color it brown and pretend like it’s summer in Texas. 😉 As for the dinner conundrum, I prepare and serve food to my family that is reasonably healthy and usually quite tasty, and if you’re hungry, then you’ll eat it. (I realize that may sound strict, but I am not a short-order cook and have no intention of becoming one.)

The point is that most of the things that we get upset about are really not that important, and the source of our frustration is often greed.

I did a text search in several translations to find Bible verses on thankfulness, and I was surprised to discover that “thank” (including thankful, thanksgiving, etc.) is first used in the book of Leviticus. All throughout Genesis and Exodus, there is no mention of thanks. When Adam and Eve were chilling out in the Garden of Eden, they didn’t stop to say thank you to God. In fact, they let greed get the best of them. You know how the story goes: they both did the one thing that God said they couldn’t do: they ate the forbidden fruit (see Genesis 2-3).

What is it with us and food? In Exodus, we see how God rescued his people time and time again, but they were quick to forget his goodness. God provided fresh water, quail, and manna (all of which they griped about … maybe they were craving lasagna), not to mention the mind-blowing miracles the Israelites witnessed as they left Egypt.

Finally, we come to Leviticus 7. Moses received instructions from God about the proper ways to give offerings to the Lord, and the word thanksgiving is used as an example of a type of sacrifice. The verb to thank doesn’t show up until David’s time (in 2 Samuel 22 or 1 Chronicles 16, depending on the translation).

As you prepare to spend Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, don’t just go through the motions like Moses’ step-by-step instructions. Instead, take David’s approach and treat the holiday (and every day, for that matter) as an opportunity to thank God from your heart.

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