“Be grateful for the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family; and let the Levites and the foreigners who live among you join in the celebration” -Deut 26:11
What are the first images that come to your mind when you think of Thanksgiving?
Of course, I picture family gatherings with food galore. And Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving comes to mind, as well. But some of my favorite images are of kindergarten reproductions of the first Thanksgiving, the construction paper feathers on the “Indians” celebrating the harvest side-by-side with the “pilgrims” in black felt top hats.
Recently, when I read the above passage from Deut. 26, this serene replay with five-year-olds around a table came to mind. A little context may help you understand why.
The Israelites had only recently settled in the Promised Land. Most were establishing homesteads and remained focused on survival. This naturally included farming the land.
But not everyone owned land. Levites, as the priestly nation, were dedicated to Tabernacle work. They lived off of the sacrifices others brought. It was a day-to-day existence from a physical perspective. They weren’t likely to have excess to contribute to any festivities.
According to this passage, there were also foreigners living among them. Given the Israelites’ authority in the Promised Land, these foreigners were most likely passing through, not setting up residency. Whatever they had, they had to be able to carry with them.
Yet in this verse, God extends an invitation to these needy groups in the celebration He prescribes. They, like our pilgrims and Indians, would have sat side-by-side, enjoying the bounty God had provided.
I love how inclusive our God is, welcoming the Jew and the Greek, the man and the woman, the rich as well as poor.
This Thanksgiving, is there someone God would have you invite to your table? Or are there those who can’t be physically present in the warmth of your home but with whom God would love for you to symbolically share your abundance?
This month, as you pray for The Boaz Project, please keep the following requests and praises in mind:
Ask God to strengthen the marriages and families in each of our children’s homes in Russia, India, and Kenya. Caring for children from trauma is a stressful, demanding job.
Praise God for His provisions through Monday’s Breakfast with Boaz event. We were blown away by the generosity of those who attended and are bolstered in our efforts to reach more children than ever with Christ’s love.
Pray for our December team as they raise funds to deliver Christmas gifts to orphans in Russia.