Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
(1 Peter 2:9-12 ESV)
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:7-16 ESV)
Thanksgiving is a perfect time to remember to give thanks and reflect on all that our faithful and graciouis God has done for us. We are truly blessed to be known by God and called to be His children. Along with so great a salvation, we have also been blessed with many material blessings. We have much to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving can also be a time in which we consider the legacy of the Pilgrims and Puritans. In 1621 and the years following, these followers of Christ came to the New World, out of a time of persecution, to be a "city on a hill" and pursue Christ and His holiness. The Pilgrims and Puritans left a rich legacy and we can benefit tremendously from their lives of faith.
Did you know that there is essentially no difference in our calling today? We are called to be modern pilgrims.
Scripture clearly teaches that this world is not our home. We are on a journey to be with our King forever in His eternal city. Leaving this world right now (or moving to a secluded ranch in Wyoming) isn't an option; neither is it an option to cave in to the desires of the flesh or comform to the patterns of this world as it fades away. We strike a balance in this walk by remembering who we are "... a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light" and by putting to death the old man.
As exiles or aliens, we are temporarily living in a foreign land, sustained and supplied here by His grace. We represent the soon returning King and claim our citizenship from His kingdom—ultimately not having any here on earth.
This Thanksgiving may we be thankful for God’s goodness to us. May we also, as pilgrims, remember what is temporary and seek that which is eternal. Happy Thanksgiving!
(To learn more about the Pilgrims and Puritans, check out the following article: "The Pilgrims and Puritans: Total Reformation for the Glory of God" at http://www.puritansermons.com/banner/logan1.htm .)