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Posted: November 23, 2012 1:00 a.m.

Three Thanksgiving proverbs

Thanksgiving is not aimed at general thanks. It is a holiday aimed thanks to God for his care and for his provision. If you really want to celebrate Thanksgiving, you must realize that there is a God who in his divine providence has decided to bless you and you must thank him. Thanksgiving is a day of worship. But this year, more than just thanking God with our words, my hope is that we can honor God with our lives. So to help us with this, I want to consider three Proverbs from scripture, three wise words for Thanksgiving.

Proverbs 15:17, "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it." There is a certain coming together at Thanksgiving. We join together with family and friends and yet so often as we all know there can be what I like to call "Thanksgiving tension." Remember, better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. One of the great bits of advice that I have gotten in my life is that love is a choice. You choose whether or not you are going to love someone. I want to encourage you this year to choose to love your family members - every one of them. You know those family members who you haven't been that friendly to in the past couple of years? This is the year to love them. Talk to them about whatever it is that they like to talk about. Put yourself aside for one day and choose to be a lover. Just before his arrest, and just after Jesus, the Son of God, had washed his disciples' feet, he said to them, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34-35. In other words, Jesus is saying, don't wait around until you feel affinity toward one another I have loved you, and because you know that you have been loved by me, you go love.

Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." So much of the Thanksgiving holiday is centered around relationships and relationships are all about communication. You will have a lot of opportunities to stir up anger this thanksgiving with family members and friends, so watch your words, and be gentle with your words. One of the great bits of advice I can give any relationship is this: Do not respond to sin, with sin. If you remember those seven little words they will keep you out of a lot of trouble. When someone sins against us it is very natural to respond with sin, but the wise man of God is able to respond with grace and righteousness. James 1:20 reminds us, "The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." A soft answer is not always easy, but it turns away wrath.

Proverbs 21:13, "Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered." We are a blessed people, but there are many in the world who are not so blessed. Proverbs 21:13 in many ways serves as more of an observation than a warning. You know the people at my church that give the most both in terms time, energy, and finances to the church, and to the kingdom? It is not the people who have the most, it is the people who are the most grateful for what they have. I bet that is true of your church too. You see gratitude produces generosity, if you are grateful you will give and the more grateful you are the more you give. Remember, gratitude leads to generosity. I want to challenge you and your family to do something this year to help somebody who can't give you anything in return. Then you will know that you are truly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving. I pray these simple Proverbs would help all of us to worship God this week, not only with our words, but with our actions too.

Jason Dees is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, the husband of Paige and the father of Emery Anna. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington.


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