Wasting Our Time with Thanksgiving

Let’s be honest with one another. When it comes to this Sunday’s Community Thanksgiving Service, there are many other things that you could be doing with your time instead of attending our worship experience  .
First, you could be recovering from a full weekend and steeling yourself for the holiday juggernaut that lies ahead. This is a reasonable and good use of your time.
Second, you could choose to finish the work that you didn’t finish last week before you begin a new week. Again, this is a reasonable and good use of your time.
Third, you could spend Sunday evening with your family, enjoying football, surfing social media on your device, or taking a much-needed walk around your neighborhood. This, too, would be a reasonable and good use of your time.
Fourth, you could cook. Like me, you’re probably expecting company sometime next week. Preparing for them on Sunday night will allow you to maximize your time with your guests when they arrive. This is a reasonable and good use of your time.
Or, you could sacrifice all of that and choose to be a part of our Community Thanksgiving Service at the Presbyterian Church in Sylva on Sunday night, November 20, at 6:00 PM.
Why would you bother? Because our souls need it and God desires it. 
Ingratitude is one of the oldest songs in our hymnbook. Our wish lists in our prayers occupy far more time than our thanksgivings. Remembrances of how God has provided for us don’t have the urgency that our more immediate needs require. 
So yea, we’re inclined to skip the service of Thanksgiving and focus on what’s next. The immediate outweighs the past, right?
Speaking of urgency, the ten lepers in Luke’s Gospel had an immediate need. They suffered with an incurable disease that was both painful and isolating. They heard that Jesus was coming through town and they raced out to encounter him on the road, saying: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 
His response was curt and a bit confusing: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
And as they did, they were made well. Cleansed from their terrible disease, these individuals made good use of their time by celebrating with family and friends. Having been healed, they then made a reasonable decision with regards to their time. 
Except for one man. “When he saw that he was healed, (he) turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” 
Understandably, Jesus was crestfallen by the fact that only one would return to say thank you. 
So, of course, Jesus is familiar with our tilt toward self-absorption. And yet, we have an opportunity to surprise Jesus by ‘wasting our time’ with thanksgiving. 
Yes, there are many other things that you could be doing this Sunday evening at 6:00 PM. But I’d like to challenge you and your family to waste time with our broader family of faith in a service of Thanksgiving. We will be taking a radical action in our current age of disillusionment and division. We’ll be sharing communion with those in our community who are different from us.  
Thanksgiving is not simply a holiday, and it certainly should not be relegated to one day in our calendar year. Thanksgiving is an attitude. It is a practice, a discipline, intended to turn our willful, selfish lives back to a God who has given us all that we need. 
Thanksgiving is a mindset that is the anecdote to our chronic discontent. And, it’s the best waste of your time that you’ll ever engage in.