T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s
Q Ê lia ils CHRISTIAN HANKSGIVING? By HENRY OSTROM ^ j ^ Greencastle, indiana
^ _ wo good publications of late have had articles in them calling attention to Daniel’s thanksgiving. One is by a godly business man who, having had recent business reverses, seeks to cheer his fellows, and perhaps heartens himself, by quoting the following: “ Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he . . . prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Dan. 6:10 ). The writing alluded to ordered Daniel to be cast into the den o f lions. Normally, of course, that writing would have been a death warrant. So Daniel was giving thanks after the death war rant was signed, as he did before it was written. Did thanks giving prophesy heavenly protection, or did even a godly Jew in that day know enough about God’s unfailing good ness to know that he must thank Him, even if lions should make a repast o f his poor body ? And if Christian light and life are vastly above the shadows of the Jewish faith, shall the Christian be thankful only for governmental protection, harvests o f food, and general physical well-being? If he may not see it, can he not, and should he not, trust that the goodness o f God to him would not be in the least reduced if governmental failure is substituted for governmental pro tection, and if the fields are barren and physical welfare is jeopardized ? The Christian does not require payment for being thankful. Just to have Christ is to have grace to the extent of an “ unspeakable gift,” and the Christian’s thoughts are so filled with Him that surely, if all these in cidentals might fail, he gives thanks as aforetime. The speed of our day, if nothing else, may justify our inquiry into the real significance of thanksgiving. Casual “ thank you’s” may be counterfeits of real thankfulness. When the proclamation is given, in Isaiah 9, that our Lord Jesus will reign in peace on the earth, the first title applied to Him is “ Wonderful.” That it will he during His reign that this earth will thrill with thanksgiving is more than hinted in the word “ Wonderful” alone; for thankful ness is never the child of cold calculation. Calculation has to do with contracts and profits. It is not until wonder is asserted that the heart begins to sing praises. Wondering at God’s goodness in His providences, wondering at His ac cepting the homage of redeemed sinners, wondering at the wonderful salvation wrought for us in the blood of the cross, we are ready to bid calculation adieu and to thank our God, not reckoning and scarcely considering analyzed circumstances. We thank Him. Our hearts overflow to Him in homage and adoration, neither of which could be without gratitude, and that in turn cannot be without wonder. C hristian T hanksgiving is an O bligation Thanksgiving is one of man’s original obligations. Its absence marks a great and serious loss. The first step re corded in man’s condemnation and ruin is described thus: “When they knew God, they glorified him riot as God.” And the second step reads thus: “Neither were thankful.” The lesson is this, that to have become ungodly is to have become unthankful ; and the inference is clear, that glorify
ing God implies thankful ness, and being godly neces sitates it. Tracing the mention of the fruit o f the Spirit in the believer and noting the ef fects of grace reveals a striking classification, of thanksgiving. It sounds the depths o f personal obliga tion as if to guarantee that it must be, actually must be, if the person knows God. The fruit of the Spirit with all that grace accomplishes is truly dependent upon knowing God, yet there is som e th ing in gratitude which so emphatically waits upon knowing God that it is not mentioned in this list which gives the fruit of the Spirit. Does not this assert powerfully the obligation to gratitude ? In the mentioning of the nine cleansed lepers, the same fact appears. He “ fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: . . . And Jesus answering said, . . . There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Then there was an obliga tion upon the nine to have given thanks. And what shall we say of the much- used words, “ In every thing give thanks” ? Why? “ For this is the will o f God.” It is not in everything know the future, describe the out come. This is a gift of which man has not been the possessor. Only God pos sesses that power— hence the miracle o f Bible proph ecy. No, it is “ give thanks” ; it is rather a heart-gift, and man should exercise it. In deed, man may become a
Ploughing the Subsoil 2 Jt I hen 1 was a ladj 1 learned a l e s s o n L about plowing that 1 have not forgotten. I saw a little, sharp-pointed p l o w , drawn by a single horse that walked in the furrow imme- J diately after a turning plow that was drawn by two horses. The little plow was cutting the furrow deeper, and I was informed that it was "subsoiling." I was told that beneath the shallow plowing o f the turn ing plow, the soil had become so compact that the roots of. the growing crop could not penetrate to a sufficient depth, and the crop failed be cause o f lack o f moisture. The continued shallow culti vation, year after year, had so impoverished the surface soil that it needed the fertil ity of the deeper soil, and the little plow was breaking up the subsoil and adding fertil ity to all that was above it. In other words, it was a kind o f an agricultural revival. The application is not hard to make. That there is a spir itual dearth throughout the land, who can deny? Plow ing has been done, but we have not stirred the subsoil. We have been so occupied and consumed with the su perstructure o f things that the subsoil o f great gospel truth has been neglected. We are still plowing, but the sur face soil has lost much of its fertility. In some instances, we_ have stirred the surface soil to the dryness o f an ash- bank . . . and the yield has not been sufficient to keep us from discouragement and debt. The time has come when we need, in a measure not approximated within at least more than a decade., to turn again to the subsoil plow o f the glorious gospel. —C harles T. A lexander .
self-exhorter to exercise it : “ Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Dead in trespasses and sins, he cannot do it. That death spells separation from God; but when he is horn anew and risen with Christ, thanksgiving is an obligation.
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