One Sunday a young woman, new to the church, came out to the narthex, shook my hand and said, “You’re a very good looking man………. for a man your age!” The first part of her statement was very good but the second part of her statement nullified what came before it. My father would have called that a ‘back handed compliment.”
Jesus statement in Mark 3:31-35 at first appears to be one of those ‘back handed compliments.”
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
I cannot think of any greater position in life or eternity than to have Jesus call you and me his family! While some may think that blessings come in material things, or even physical health, Jesus defines ultimate blessings as, one who he know and who knows him, thus becoming a mother or father, sister or brother of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Here is our major problem when it comes to being a part of the family of God. It is very possible to be in church every Sunday yet millions of miles away from Jesus. It is possible to call him Lord yet fail to do what he says. It is a reality that many of us love the hymn “Amazing Grace” yet we have never learned the meaning of grace and how it affects our lives.
Here is the danger that the Bible warns us about, “James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. I remember hearing a thought provoking statement many years ago that went like this. “Sitting in church no more makes you a Christian than a skateboard in a garage makes it a Rolls Royce.” Sobering thought!
So what kind of Thanksgiving is Jesus looking for this coming Thursday? Certainly many families will take the time to give thanks for health, family, another year of life but is that enough? Listen carefully, we are called to give thanks not merely say thanks. It is easy to say thanks but it takes real effort to be thankful in ways that honor the name of Jesus and bless others in their need.
At your holiday table I would challenge you to do two things this year: First, say a prayer of thanks together. Second, take the time to go around the table, starting with the oldest, and state what you are going to specifically do this week to honor Jesus and bless others. When we do give thanks in practical ways for Jesus sake we are truly celebrating Thanksgiving!