“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you, Lord, just the same for the food we’re about to eat. Amen.”
The sentiments of Charlie Anderson, played by Jimmy Stewart, in the movie Shenandoah probably ring true with many people. If I grew my food or worked to earn money to buy it, and I cooked the meal, why I am thanking God for it?
For me the answer is found in the words of Moses to the children of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:17, 18
Charlie Anderson is a proud man. He thinks he can support and care for his family without depending on God’s help. At the end of the movie, we see a much humbler man. He has not been able to protect his family from the devastation of the Civil War. Several family members have been killed and his youngest son is missing. For the first time in many years, Charlie goes to church and asks for God’s help. When he does, his son returns.
We all need God’s help in our lives every day. God supplies each of us with talents and abilities that allow us to be productive. In taking time to thank God for our food and to ask Him to bless our meal, we are acknowledging that God is the source of our strength, and it is God who gives us the ability to provide for our families. It is my desire to never take God’s gifts for granted. If you aren’t in the habit of thanking God for the blessings He bestows on you each day, it’s never too late to start. Please consider making this a new habit in the coming new year.