The definition of thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks toward something or someone. When I hear the word thanksgiving I think of food, families coming together, the chill in the air, the changing colors of the trees, and how I’m thankful for the blood of Jesus, which is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many (Matthew 26:28).
It says in Psalms 103:12 that God takes our sins and throws them as far as the east is from the west, in other words, when we ask for forgiveness our sins are never found again. Because our sins are gone we can let the past be the past and move forward by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus who saves us (Romans 10:13).
When I think of being thankful I think of Squanto, who was captured and sold as a slave by white explorers, yet still helped his captors fish and track better. After many years Squanto came back home only to find his entire tribe had died from sicknesses that his captors had brought with them. In the midst of all this Squanto ran into some pilgrims and decided to help them develop their crops because they desperately needed assistance. Squanto helped the pilgrims produce a good harvest, which brought the natives and pilgrims together in a celebration we now call Thanksgiving.
When I think of this story I think about the heart Squanto had to have to help the pilgrims, who looked just like his old captors, after seeing the destruction white travelers cause his tribe. It is said that Squanto was a man of faith, I would say he’d have to have faith to see everyone he loved dead and still help a group of white pilgrims. I wonder if Squanto held on to these words of Jesus, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them … But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:32-35).
Squanto’s choice to help the pilgrims when it was the hardest for him changed the world as we know it. If we want to be like Squanto we have to receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God and believe that He died for our sins and rose again three days later. We must apply what the word of God says to our lives so that it will change our hearts towards love. If we sow seeds of love in the good times and the bad times, then we will reap a heart of thanksgiving!
The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.