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Posted: November 27, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Grace Notes: Thanks for nothing, God

Blah blah blah... You've heard it a thousand times: "We have so much to thank God for." But it's hard to argue with that. God has protected us from so much we don't want and given us so much we do. Our standard of living, even for the poorest among us, is light years beyond the standard of living for the majority of our world's population. And now just try comparing it to the standard of living even in our country 200 years ago. We have plenty to thank God for. Even King Solomon, richest man on earth a few thousand years ago, would admit his palace was a poor house if he saw your TV, or your chariot (that doesn't even need a horse) or your menu, or felt your clothes and blankets. Wow!

But today, more than all the toys and comforts and provision God has given us - I want us to take time to say to God: "Thanks for nothing!"

Did I catch your attention yet? Yes, all those things God gives us are something. All the niceties are nice. All the luxuries are luxurious. But our lives would be empty and poor if we didn't have the beautiful gift of nothing that God has given.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, push back from the turkey sandwich and open your Bible to Romans 8. It starts by giving us all the reason in the world to thank God. You see, he's given us nothing to fear. Now, I'm sure you've felt guilt. You've realized when you've fallen short. You know what your sins deserve. After all, the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death." In Romans 8, Paul had just reminded us of the victory over our sin and our death that Jesus won on the cross, so he says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Then the chapter gives reason after reason why we have nothing to stress as we live this life in a world that wants to make us think that there is something to fear. He talks about the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of prayer - the gift of certain hope and the gift of faith.

In verse 31, he reminds us that with God on our side, all the things that are against us amount to nothing. And then, he closes by showing what it is that can separate us from our God who gives us all this: nothing. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus."

God loved you so much he sent his Son to take your sin and pay for it and give you his perfect life. So this Thanksgiving - don't go back to work until you get a chance to tell God "Thanks for nothing" - nothing to condemn us, nothing to stress us, nothing against us, nothing that can separate us from his love.

Happy Thanksgiving. In Christ, Amen.


Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.


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