364 Days of Thanksgiving

364 Days of Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 — We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Many Christians have heard, and perhaps have even told, the fictional story of the man who finds himself on a deserted island. He prays asking God to save him. A boat suddenly appears, and the captain invites the castaway to safety. But he refuses the offer because he’s waiting for God to save him. When a rescue helicopter and airplane pilot issue the same invitation, both times the man refuses. He’s waiting for God to save him. When the man inevitably dies, he is heard complaining that God didn’t save him, to which the Almighty replies, “What do you mean? I sent a boat, a helicopter, and an airplane. What more did you want?”

The story is a bit corny but also insightful because it teaches an important biblical truth. God saves through means.

What does that mean? It means that God doesn’t normally save people in flashy, miraculous ways. Instead, he cares for us, protects us, and saves us through natural, every day things.  Consider how he makes your body grow through common food and drink, or how He protects you and helps you through medicine and science.

God saves through means.  The greatest of these is the simple Word of the gospel.  The gospel is the good news of salvation communicated by ordinary people through his ordinary Word and simple sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. No lightning. No thunder. Not even a boat, helicopter, or airplane! Just simple means of grace—Word, water, bread, and wine—all vehicles of his saving love. If you’re waiting for something else, don’t hold your breath. Nothing else is coming.

But what more could we want or need? In his Word, God assures us of his perfect and unconditional love and forgiveness in Jesus (John 3:16). In baptism he washes us with water and his Word, making us holy and perfect in his sight, “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Through the Lord’s Supper, he feeds our faith under bread and wine with the body and blood Jesus offered on the cross “for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). These are God’s rescue vehicles, sent in abundance to ensure our salvation, now and forever.

So, don’t miss the boat—the boat of God’s Word and sacraments. They are here to save you.

And give thanks this day for a God who has given you exactly what you need for your body and soul.

Jesus, open my eyes to recognize the work of your everlasting salvation. Amen..

Peace in Jesus,

Pastor John Gensmer


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