Thanksgiving: A Story of Persistence
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I d forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.— Philippians 3:12-14
Here is a part of the Thanksgiving story you may not know. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October of 1621. Not until October of 1777 did all 13 colonies celebrate Thanksgiving altogether, for the first time. At one point, our first president, George Washington, proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, but conflict and difficulties among the colonies put an end to the observance.
It was a magazine editor by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale whose work led to the celebration of the Thanksgiving known today. Hale wrote letters to governors and presidents, as well as editorials in magazines, books and newspapers, promoting the observance of Thanksgiving. In 1863, after 40 years of letter writing and campaigning (that's not a typo, she really wrote letters for 40 years), Sarah Hale's persistence paid off and President Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. Since then, every president has supported Thanksgiving. Forty years of dedication, persistence and passion, all to make sure that this country would celebrate a National Day of Thanksgiving each year. Impressive.
We can learn from Hale's perseverance. It took her 40 years to accomplish what she set out to do. Just like her story, the Christian faith is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. Each day of our life is another day to choose between right and wrong, to help someone in need, to read our Bible, to pray, to…you fill in the blank. As Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:12-14, Christians are called to persevere, to press on. Sometimes it can feel like an unrewarding task. It is hard, but important, to look to God for the BIGGER plan. What if Hale had chosen to give up after one year or ten years? Her goal would have been left unfinished. Press on towards the call of Christ! Endure! But be forewarned, just like Sara Josepha Hale, it may take 40 years to see the fruit of your labor!
- What are some areas in your life that require perseverance?
- Why is it important we don't base our faith on feelings? How can you work to get through those days you don't feel like reading your Bible, or praying, etc.?
Deuteronomy 29:2-6; Matthew 4:1-11; James 1:2-8; 2 Peter 1:3-11