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“The Thanksgiving Challenge” by Justin Dowiot, Youth Minister

“The Thanksgiving Challenge” by Justin Dowiot, Youth Minister

Thanksgiving will always be one of my favorite holidays because it’s the only holiday that always comes with an extended weekend.  It’s basically a mini vacation.  For most people, Thanksgiving ends up being the beginning of that amazing four day weekend.  Others might not get all four days but still, more than likely, they end up with some extra time off of work.

While Thanksgiving in itself is an awesome holiday, it’s not the food or the football that make it so great for me.  It’s not the day after with those crazy Black Friday deals.  It is all about that extended time to relax and spend some serious quality time with my family.  There is just something so satisfying about being around the people you care the most about without having to worry about getting up for work the next morning or finishing that upcoming project right away.

The best part of Thanksgiving is the extra time we have to put work and school aside to put our focus on the people who matter in our lives.

Maybe you feel similarly.  Maybe you savor that time off to spend with other people?  Or maybe you don’t fit into that mold.  Maybe you struggle to find a way to spend that time because you don’t have any family or you feel alone?  Whichever category you find yourself in, I urge you to put some thought into how you use this extra time.  Free time is a rarity, it’s valuable, and it’s a bright spot in our day-to-day routines.  If we are spending free time with our loved ones, then we need to consider spending it with the One who loved us first.

Here is my very real Thanksgiving challenge to you.  During this Thanksgiving weekend, will you make a way to spend ONE full, uninterrupted hour with God?

One of the biggest barriers to us spending time with God is a lack of time.  This holiday weekend is an opportunity for us to refocus and put in some much needed time with the God who loves us more than we could ever understand.

In Psalm 63, David does just this.  He focuses on his relationship with God and shares his thoughts with us,

“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.  Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.  I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”

David illustrates that he is invested in his relationship with God and it has given him joy, trust, and security.  One hour, one time, is not being invested—but it is a starting point.  One hour is a statement that you are serious about taking your relationship with Jesus further.  One hour is a declaration that you are no longer content with 10 minute daily, (or weekly, or monthly) obligatory Bible readings.  The more time you commit to a relationship, the stronger that relationship will become.

Why not give it a try?  Let’s see if this challenge can be the catalyst that takes our relationship with Jesus to the next level!  This can be a time unlike any other—this is our chance to be one-on-one with the God who sacrificed His Son for us.  This is our opportunity to learn what His purpose is for us.  These are the moments when we can bring ANYTHING from our lives to Him.

Maybe that hour will turn into just the beginning.  Like David, maybe we will be at a point where we can happily lie awake at night thinking of the God who loves us!