Articles in English

What is Thanksgiving?

Rev. Thomas Vaga - October 2011

Every time we bring the offering or contributions to the altar we sing "We give Thee but Thine own, whate'er the gift may be. All that we have is Thine alone -- a trust, O'Lord, from Thee!" I learned to sing this offering verse when I was a new believer (I was twenty-eight years old). I had really not given anything to God before that except for prayer requests for good things and protection. Until I came into a truly dynamic two way dialogue with God, until I began to hear what God said and did, I did not learn why and how to give to God. In a way, I had the "Pilgrims' experience".

The Pilgrims gave up their house and home, nation and country because of their faith in and service to God. In their first winter in America almost half of them died of illnesses. But they kept going in faith in the new world thanking God, for "All that we have is Thine (God's) alone -- a trust, O'Lord, from Thee!" They received abundantly next fall. 


They shared the good harvest in the first Christian Thanksgiving festival in New England with the Indians who showed them how to plant corn so that they had a good harvest. The tradition of Christian giving and sharing that is especially American had a start with the Pilgrims and has continued to our day.

My Pilgrim experience convinced me how I owed everything to God from my freedom from sin, to my money, and position and place in life. Every time I sing the words of the offering verse: "We give Thee but Thine own!", I wonder how fully the people in the service understand and how fully do they give?

A modern Christian hero, a Lutheran pastor, wrote that blessed are people who are happy not because they lack nothing, but because they receive everything from the hand of God.

We can be like the Pilgrims who were happy to serve God with all they had including their lives and possessions. We are not in such a critical situation as the Pilgrims, but we are Christians who can have Pilgrim's attitude to giving and sharing -- not only asking and receiving.

Thanksgiving is sharing what God has given us -- "All that we have is His alone and a trust to us!"  

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. 


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