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In 1941 President Roosevelt signed Thanksgiving, as a federal holiday, into effect…
For many people, Thanksgiving fellowship is part of the tradition of the holiday. It is a day to get together with family and friends. But while Thanksgiving fellowship is wonderful in general, there is more we can learn from it.
The Purpose of Thanksgiving Fellowship
Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of joy and remembrance; a time where people come together and consider the importance of helping one another. Yet, today—nearly 400 years after the events considered to be the original reason behind Thanksgiving—that lesson of helping and giving is dwindling in our consciousness.
We come together as families—perhaps struggling to get along—and try to avoid heavy topics while simultaneously attempting to eat every heavy food in sight.
Some families try to keep the focus on God, His blessings, and helping one another, but many do not. In fact, for many, surviving the day, eating food, and perhaps watching football or going shopping to buy gifts for the coming holiday is all the day means for them…
With the world today—the struggles, media manipulation, and so forth—it is easy to lose sight of the true lessons of the day.
The purpose of Thanksgiving fellowship is to gather, find joy in the Lord, and help one another, no matter if we fail to understand or like each other. Coming together in unity, we are made stronger and better. Through the giving and receiving of blessings, we can discover who God is.
The Benefits of Thanksgiving Fellowship
- “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10:24-25
- “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”—Matthew 18:20
God desires us to fellowship with Him and one another…
And our Messiah gave us His example to follow in this. He did not hinder the children from coming to Him, instead, He allowed them to fellowship with Him. He spent time in fellowship with His disciples. He told us that when two or three gather together, He is there.
Over and over we see the importance of fellowship and community–of being of one mind in Christ.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For
‘He who would love life and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil,
and his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their prayers;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”
—1 Peter 3:8-12
There are many reasons why we are meant to come together, and many blessings and lessons we can experience as a result. One such lesson is that in unity—fellowship of Believers in particular—we can bring about mighty change…
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:1, 4
Those in the upper room spoken of in the book of Acts were of one accord, and THAT is when God—through the price Jesus paid—moved, laying within each of them the gift of the Holy Spirit! That was a precious gift to them and us, yet, had they been squabbling or turning away to do whatever they wanted, would God have moved?
Yeshua paid the price, but we have to be willing to align with Him—and those He puts around us—if we are to know the marvelous working power of our Savior. God does not desire to dwell in dirty, riotous temples, but in temples cleansed by the blood and filled with God’s shalom.
By walking in peace and coming together in thanksgiving fellowship—even with those who do not yet believe—and being of one mind with our fellow Believers, we become more like our Father. We are creating not only a place for Him to dwell in us, but a pure vessel for Him to pour His blessings into… a vessel which in turn can pour blessings into the vessels around them.
- “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”—Psalm 23:5
- “So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”—Proverbs 3:10
- “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”—Acts 4:32
Further still, by walking in thanksgiving fellowship we find that we ourselves are made stronger, kinder, more like our Father in our ability to love. We grow in Him and are refreshed in turn—particularly when we regularly interact with fellow Believers.
God did not design us to live alone all our days, but instead created us and told us that we are meant to live together; to engage in the Godly mathematics of two becoming one—be it as One New Man, man and wife, or brother and sister in God.
- “…they raised their voice to God with one accord…”—Acts 4:24
The Benefits of Giving
- “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”—Luke 6:38
There are untold benefits and lessons that come from giving. Jesus Himself said that it is better to give than to receive, and God does not command us to give back 10% of what He gave us (in addition to special offerings, donations, and Terumah) for no reason… He does so to teach, bless, and restore us.
When we give, we are acting as the hands and feet of God. We are fulfilling prophecies and answering our Kingdom call. God does not require “our” money. He is the one who provides it. He is the one who blesses us with it…
- “…you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…”—Deuteronomy 8:18
When we give, we, and others, are blessed…
By giving, we are actively proclaiming that God is real, and we trust Him…
Giving is an active investment in God’s Kingdom, and even in ourselves…
But giving requires obedience that comes from a love to do the will of God and an understanding of Heaven’s finances.
And we are not meant to give grudgingly, but with generosity, joy, and God-given love.
When we do this, we are not only a blessing to God’s sons and daughters but a blessing to ourselves as we honor God. We are basically fertilizing ourselves so that we might bear good fruit—becoming like our Father. We are allowing a place for God to pour out blessings.
- “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”—Matthew 7:17-18
Thanksgiving fellowship has the potential to bring us closer to God and one another. By using the day to practice Godly mandates of fellowship, love, and generosity, we not only bless those we interact with, honor God, and release blessings for ourselves and God’s Kingdom… we become more like our Heavenly Father!
Through thanksgiving fellowship, we find our hearts open wide with good fruit coming forth… and God, who loves us no matter what, rewards such openness and love. With the measure we use, it is measured back to us (see Mark 4:24-25).
This Thanksgiving, if we need kindness, we should sow kindness. If we need love, sow love. If we need fellowship, sow fellowship. For when we give, we receive more…
When we bear good fruit—the fruit of God—we find that soon enough, it is multiplying and empowering ourselves and others… allowing us to answer our call without lack!
- “Then He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’”—Mark 4:24-25