LIES, OLD TURKEY, AND A REAL THANKSGIVING
2 Corinthians 4:15
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
These words are written by Paul speaking of the great sacrifice that had been endured for the Corinthians so that the “grace” of God would be expressed to many so that “thanks giving” would overflow to the glory of God.
I recall as a young boy my father and his brothers deciding one year instead of buying a turkey for our holiday feast they would venture into the “woods” of Mississippi and “bag” one. On the morning that they departed their hopes were high and those of us who were left were assured a turkey would be ours before the end of the day.
Many hours passed with no word. We didn’t have cell phones back then so all we could do was wait. As darkness came we heard a car driving onto the gravel road and there were the hunters with their proud possession in hand, a turkey, feathers and all.
They gave their “gotten” game to my grandmother and aunts who immediately started plucking, gutting and cleaning this turkey. As this endeavor continued my grandmother noticed something unusual, bread crumbs in the birds “innards”. No wild game would have breadcrumbs, so my “wise and experienced” grandmother confronted her “sons”. They readily admitted through their drunken laughter that they had not “actually” hunted this turkey but had purchased it live from a farmer. But to not totally lie they released the bird into a field, counted to 100 and then began chasing it. Of course the turkey was no match for these “great” hunters and as it sort of wandered around they all took shots at it, finally hitting it and claimed victory.
The truth was all they did that day in the woods was sit, wait and freeze. Of course they had prepared for the cold by bringing a bottle of “Old Turkey” and that they did kill.
The humor of their story is unfortunately tempered by the reality of four brothers spending a day in the woods getting drunk.
In 1988 my father found himself in a very difficult place standing before a judge who offered him the alternative of a jail sentence or being remanded to the oversight of an alcohol out-patient rehab program. Of course my father quickly accepted the latter and joined a group of men who spent their time discussing their problem with alcohol.
This particular group was lead by a “pastor” who at each and every meeting would declare the goodness of God into the lives of these men, including my dad.
On one of these fate-filled nights what was being said came alive in my daddy’s heart. He broke and admitted his need for Jesus to be his savior and deliverer. On that night the “grace” of God was a reality to Howard Eugene Walden, my dad.
Everything changed – alcohol gone, carousing was over and brawling came to an end.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, 1990.
As my family, my wife and children join my mom and dad for Thanksgiving at their home in Harvey, La, we gathered around the feast, with a turkey that was bought and not shot, lol, my dad turned, looked at me and asked “Rod, would you say the blessing?” (Rodney is my middle name and the only name my family calls me by) that was not a common question in our home when I was a boy. What a change, His grace was the reality.
All of this is written for this one statement. “Except for the “Grace of God” there is no Thanksgiving. 2Corinthians 4:15
Octavius Winslow wrote in the book “The Precious Things of God” these words describing the Preciousness of Christ, that His fullness meets my emptiness – His blood cleanses my guilt- His grace subdues my sin – His patience bears my infirmities – His gentleness helps my weakness – His love quickens my obedience – His sympathy soothes my sorrow – His beauty charms my eyes.
My Dad is with Jesus now and I know that the words that Winslow wrote are a reality for him throughout eternity.
The Grace of God is my Thanksgiving.