Has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that handful of people from the Mayflower. They had no homes, and no government agency to help them build homes. They had no means of transportation but their legs. Their only food came from the sea and the forest, and they had to get for themselves. They had no money, and no place to spend it if they had any. They had no amusements except what they made for themselves, no means of communication with their relatives thousands of miles away, across the ocean, no Social Security and no Medicare. Sadly, they made seven times more graves than huts. And yet they set aside a day for giving thanksgiving to a gracious God.
But anyone one who would dare to call them underprivileged would probably have ended up in stocks. They had four of the greatest human assets: 1) Initiative. 2) Courage. 3) A willingness to work. 4) and a boundless faith in God. They had an Attitude of Gratitude!
Our Forefathers had a boundless faith in Almighty God. That sounds a little strange today. We are living in a time when powerful forces in our country are trying to strip us of every reminder that the very foundation of our great nation is built on the conviction that we are, “One Nation Under God.”
Our Declaration of Independence proclaims, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And is ends with, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
How much did the fifty-six signers believe in the Declaration of Independence they signed? Look at the price They paid:
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were among prominent Americans well known in England. Yet both signed enthusiastically knowing they would be hanged if caught and even if they escaped, Jefferson was risking Monticello and Franklin his wealth and world prestige if independence was not secured.
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the revolutionary war.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” They had an Attitude of Gratitude!
Let us pause to give thanks to God for His blessings on our nation. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people He has chosen as his own” (Psalm 33:12). “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
It seems that 21st Century Americans can only determine our gratitude on how much we have. Do I have enough food to sufficiently stuff myself? Is my money in the bank secure? Is my health going to get bad? “What if,” are our favorite two words. And we let material things determine whether or not we are thankful. And these things could change at any time. They may rust out, burn up, drift away, be lost in a flood, or someone may steal them. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
A Primary Sunday School teacher asked her class if anyone could quote the 23rd Psalm. A little girl named Debbie raised her hand. She was only six years old. So the teacher tried again, “Can anyone quote the 23rd Psalm?” Little Debbie was the only student with a raised hand. So the teacher said, “Debbie, are you sure you can you quote the 23rd Psalm?” Debbie said, “Yes ma’am!” She stands and declares in a very loud voice, “The Lord’s my Shepherd, that’s all I want.” If you have the LORD, what more do you need? And yet, even some who know the LORD have the audacity to complain about what they don’t have. Do you have the Lord? Have you experienced His love?
Whomever you are, wherever you are, whatever nationality or religion you are, GOD LOVES YOU!
Listen to what God has to say to you! "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins" (1 John 4:7-10, New Living Translation).
Throughout the Bible there is verse after verse that talks about how much God loves us. The greatest example of this was when God sent His only Son into the world to die for our sins. But even today, He watches over you and pursues you because He desires to have a relationship with you. John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.