Look Beyond Your Own Table

Long before America created an overflowing and beautifully sophisticated Thanksgiving table, thanksgiving was a thing. Before pilgrims gathered around a rough wood hewn table, or a sweet row of little hands clasped in prayer at my own table, thanksgiving was a thing. 

The Israelites in the wilderness didn’t do so well with the concept of thanksgiving being “a thing.” They had issues with gratefulness. Because you see, a grateful heart connects to faith. It’s tied to trust, and permeated with belief in a God who is Sovereign, whether in lack or abundance. It deems Him good in every circumstance. 

Giving thanks demonstrates confidence in a Father who will take our hand into the unknown, even when there seems to be darkness in our path. a grateful heart connects to faith Click To Tweet

We might bow our heads at an abundant table or at one with just enough manna for dinner, regardless, our understanding of thanks can benefit from a look at the apostles. For thanksgiving was a really big thing for the early church.  


So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41NKJV)

The apostles, bloodied and beaten for preaching Christ left the unjust courtroom with joy. They were grateful. They felt chosen and worthy of something marvelous. Disgrace, ridicule, and shame in a culture and society which opposed them brought true thanksgiving. 


I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,  (Colossians 1:24 NKJV).

Paul and his many sufferings intertwined thanksgiving as one of his  themes in his writings. He understood not only God’s Sovereignty in suffering, but also its purifying impact within the body of Christ. His sufferings enabled others in the family of God to be encouraged, grow, and continue in faith. Sufferings were worthy of thanksgiving. 


for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. (Hebrews 10:34 NKJV)

“It’s mine,” that childish not-gonna-let go hold, grows up with us. As the toys and stakes get bigger, the losses more painful, injustices become much harder to let go. The early Christians had lands and possessions taken from them. The author of Hebrews put it into eternal perspective, looked farther ahead, and saw something much more valuable for which to be grateful. Thanksgiving happened even in unfair financial loss.Look beyond your own table. Click To Tweet


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (James 1:2-3 NKJV)

James, half brother of Jesus, leader of the Jerusalem church, and martyred for his faith, begins the book of James with this next to impossible admonishment. “Count it all joy…” Wouldn’t life be so bright without all the bad stuff? Unenjoyable trials are part of thanksgiving because they produce results which grow our faith. James recognized trials brought greater spiritual maturity, and so trusted Jesus in the process.

All of these looked beyond their own table.

They peered into greater blessings ahead and found thanksgiving within each difficult situation. 

This month, challenge your thanksgiving to go deep. Look beyond your your own table. Dig into gratefulness. Proclaim trust and confidence in a Sovereign God, worthy, faithful and always good. This is Thanksgiving.



You might be interested in a recent article of mine on Crosswalk.com

How Can Christians Practice ‘A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath’ Today?


*Feature Photo by Virginia Simionato on Unsplash

14 Replies

  1. Don Pahl Reply

    Thank you, Sylvia, for this timely reminder toward thankfulness.

  2. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Even in the season of Thanksgiving, I think we sometimes forget to “dig deep” to be thankful. Thank you for this inspiring message. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Nancy E. Head Reply

    Beyond ourselves, beyond our own tables. Love this message, Sylvia. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Nancy! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  4. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Amen. Sometimes, Ms. Sylvia, looking beyond our own table (e.g., the terrorist activities that the people of Israel are suffering through) makes us both grateful and heartbroken at the same time. In those cases, it’s even more important to lean into God. This time of year always gives me pause to consider just how blessed me and my family are. There’s always more blessings than trials when we start really looking. God’s blessings and Happy Thanksgiving sweet sister.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you J.D. Yes, this Thanksgiving will remind us in many ways of the sufferings around the world, and spur us to pray for others around our tables. Thank you for the reminder of God’s blessings which are abundant and undeserved. May your “pause” this thanksgiving reveal the immense gratitude we have being in the family of God. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Candyce Carden Reply

    I admit I’m a little short-sighted when this time of year comes around, being ultra focused on me and mine. Your post challenged me to look beyond my table! Thank you.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Candyce, I totally understand that. I feel the same way. The busy preparations make it difficult to see past my own table. It is without a doubt the verses I’ve read lately have popped out at me for a reason! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I always love hearing from you.

  6. Ron Gallagher Reply

    Wonderful look at Thanksgiving, Sylvia. I loved the way you described it as “a thing.” The reminder of what a significant “thing” it was for God’s people and the followers of Jesus was, well… gratifying. It was, as intended, a prompt to thank Him for the multitude of ways He extends grace and provision to us every day. So, among the things I’m thankful for today is that He moves on the hearts of gifted people like you to share His truth.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Ron. It is a blessing to be part of a community where sharing what God is doing builds up one another. I do appreciate your comment, and I’m glad it’s a “prompt.” God’s grace and provision every day is truly magnificent. It’s wonderful to be able to take intentional moments-like during this season-to focus our gratitude. Thanks Ron. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  7. Leigh DeLozier Reply

    Amen to this! Thank you for reminding us of this integral part of true thanksgiving.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thank you Leigh! I hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful celebration!