Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Ye Thankful People Come"1 (Lyrics)
Long ago, a Thanksgiving Day was gloriously decorated with shades of autumn colours. It had been a busy day in my restaurant 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the Trans-Canada Highway. There was a break with no customers around, and as cook for the day, I told my helpers to get off their feet and go home — I would look after the front. I circled around the room from one large window to another, taking in the beauty of the day. I took great pleasure in it, knowing that it was God's free gift for which to be thankful, and in my heart, I was!
Just then, I saw a motorcycle turn in to our driveway and park in front of the restaurant. I saw a big sign on the handlebars saying "JESUS". It made me smile.
The man walked in, looking at me, and finally asking, "You do not recognize me?" I mumbled, "No, I do not!"
He proceeded to remind me. He was the one who had beaten me unconscious in a robbery attempt a year earlier with another young man. A third one was waiting at a car. At the conclusion of the court case, as we were walking out of the courtroom, the police escorted the young man out near me, and he lifted his hand to hit me … again, but the police stopped him. I was stunned, but I said, "God bless you anyway!" He had been in my prayers for the whole year since then.
He began to tell me how he had never forgotten my words. The result was a transformation in his life! He had come a long way to ask for my forgiveness — which I had already given.
With teary eyes, I hugged him, and he hugged me, leaving me to wonder how and why God leads things the way that He does.
The day was even brighter as we said goodbye with "God bless you!"
We never know how God plans all things to work out as lessons in life! I think of that incident each Thanksgiving and have told my family to ponder how we are to forgive others if we expect God to forgive us.
Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (NRSV)
I will be with my family this Thanksgiving looking at each one as a blessing and a gift from God. Once again, I will be thinking of the now older man enjoying his family and just maybe thinking of me!
Psalm 32:1 – Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (NRSV)
Prayer: Father God, thank You for leading our days the way that You do. We find so much to be thankful for, as we know that it comes by Your word of grace. Lead us always to be thankful. In the name of our Saviour, we pray. Amen!