A Thanksgiving Meditation

It is easy to capture the mood of Thanksgiving, or Harvest Festival. The autumn sun is shining warmly in a blue November sky. The Michigan maples and birches and oaks are ablaze with color. The farms have yielded another excellent harvest. The “frost is on the punkin’ and the corn is in the shock.”

Compared with other ages, or other lands, the countryside around me and the city in the distance are signs of an economy of abundance: a surplus of food, a wealth of all that factories can make, an ample provision of services, a fascinating variety of opportunities. A country church spire reminds me of even greater blessings—the gift of God’s Son, the fellowship of his people, the Bible in my own language, the daily care of a loving Father. Then, the disturbing thought: Why should I be so blessed and others be left in want and ignorance? If favors material and spiritual could be scaled somehow, and the earth’s peoples rated against the scale, I should surely be in the top five per cent.

Privilege Obligates

The mood of wonder and reverie gave way to one of burden and obligation. If privilege obligates, and this the Gospel stoutly maintains, what a heavy obligation belongs to one with so many privileges! If “from those to whom much has been given shall much be required,” then how solemn must the Day of Accounting be! How difficult to manage all these divine investments and make them all produce a fair return!

Anyone who calls himself a Christian must share the task involved in knowing the Redeemer, the task of making him known. And anyone who lives in North America or in Western Europe must regard himself as high on the scale of materially-blessed peoples. A half hour’s reflection on the million refugees in ...

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