Maybe you have heard a variation of this joke:
Herbie is driving in Manhattan. He’s very late for an important meeting, he’s looking for a parking place and, of course, can’t find one. He’s frantic. In desperation, he turns towards heaven and says, God, if you give me a parking place, I promise that I won’t ever skip church to watch football again, I’ll double my contribution in the offering and I’ll volunteer to teach Sunday school for a year.” Suddenly, a parking space opens up just in front of him. Herbie gazes up to heaven and says, “Never mind, I just found one.”
Sometimes a very quick answer to prayer catches us off-guard—our spiritual reflexes can be slow to make the connection. Besides, it’s human nature to get so excited about the gift that we forget the Giver. Isn’t that what happened with nine of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed? God is constantly giving to us and providing for us in ways that we don’t always recognize or remember. He provided holidays for the children of Israel just so we could stop and think about what He has done for us. And while I’m sure God appreciates our thanks, He also wants us to enjoy the fact that He cares for us and has shown it in many ways. Giving thanks for what God has done also helps us to trust Him. On the one hand, God values our trust, but on the other, trusting God is the most valuable resource we have to press through life’s hardships.
Thanksgiving may not be a biblical holiday but it certainly is based on biblical principles. When I thank God, I always like to thank Him for those blessings which I’m aware of and, because I’m sure I’m sometimes like Herbie, for those I’m not aware of. And now that I am pushing fifty I have to add, “and for those I’ve forgotten!”