Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Five Grains of Corn
Many years ago, a ship set off from Europe, seeking greener pastures, a land of promise. They landed off course in winter, but decided to remain and eke out their new existance, and indeed, there the people settled. Their code was basic; the Lord is your God, and those who do not work shalt not eat.
That winter, food was rationed, and these completely unprepared people were also completely unequipped to battle for survival. Were it not for the intervention of the Native peoples, they all would have perished. During their worst days, all they had to eat, PER DAY, was 5 kernels of corn. Many died that winter.
And yet, they still had to continue working for survival, even under those rations:
FIVE. KERNELS. OF. CORN.
Some of them survived, and their new friends taught them how to plant corn, and how to survive in this new land. When they had their first bountiful harvest, they celebrated. And it was not for only one day. NO! They celebrated as in Biblcal times...for a week! But they remembered their previous winter, and so to begin, they were each rationed 5 grains of corn, as a reminder. It was a solomn moment. There they were, before a repast fit for Kings and their Courts, and yet, in humility, they remembered their moments of the most abject poverty. They remembered the lives lost, the terrible journey, and the friendship and hard work that enabled their survival.
They knew they owed their very lives to God. And only 5 grains of corn was enough to remind them of their humble positions before their Maker.
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.
DO NOT take the Lord's mercy for granted. Do not make your "Thanksgiving" a moment of self-praise about what YOU have accomplished and built. Remember that the Lord, your God has given you EVERYTHING that you have, to the very air in your lungs. As you sit around the table before a sumptious repast, remember our forefathers and what they suffered, remember your own moments, if you had them, of absolute poverty, and remember that all you now have is a gift. Invite God into your celebration, and if it so helps, as you offer your Thanksgiving prayers and blessings, set before you 5 grains of corn. And Remember whom you serve, and who it is who holds you in existance...and Praise Him.
May you all have a blessed and abundant Thanksgiving, may you all offer what you have and all that you are to the Lord, and may God bless you even more abundantly in the coming year.
** The above story is a summary of part of a lecture from this last weekend of class, and the scripture reading was provided as a link to the recognition of God's blessings and consequences of disobedience. Thanksgiving will never be the same for me again. I hope to pass that same blessing on to you. Remember your roots and your own suffering and that of those you love...and be Thankful to God for what you have now.