Dr. Jackie Minor
A Better Thanksgiving with Very Little Effort!
When it comes to most things in life, we all want to get better and be better. That certainly holds true in the field of education. Improvement is embedded in the culture of schools. We want our students to show academic growth throughout the year. We want our building and district assessment scores to reach levels of excellence. We want to grow professionally as educators. Better. Better. Better. Deep down everyone wants to be better.
What if I told you that you could have a better Thanksgiving with very little effort? It’s certainly possible. The way to make that happen is to let go of our need to be better and instead turn our attention toward the One who is better!
I am in a Bible study right now on the Book of Hebrews. Hebrews isn’t an easy book to examine, but I’m discovering the truths embedded in these Scriptures are foundational to our faith. In a nutshell, Jesus is better! I’m learning how critically important it is to view everything in life—family, church, work, friends, activities—from an eternal perspective. In the end, nothing else matters. Abraham is such a great example of keeping focused on what is better.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going…Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. (Hebrews 11:8, 10)
Can I just say I am mesmerized by the faith of Abraham? Abraham believed God’s plan and promises were ultimately better than anything he could conjure up on his own. He wasn’t tied to his homeland, his possessions, or even his family. His faith saw him through years of waiting as he never doubted God’s goodness or His word. Abraham somehow knew his time on this earth was preparation for a better home and a better future.
The same should be true for us because we have a tremendous advantage over Abraham. We have Jesus! While I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful God saw fit to send Jesus. I can’t imagine living under the sacrificial law of Old Testament times. With Jesus, life is so much better! We could probably write volumes about why Jesus is better, but I want to highlight three that jumped off the pages of God’s Word as I studied in Hebrews.
1. Jesus is my confidant.
The Bible says that Jesus became like us to experience what we experience. He endured temptations, heartache, and suffering just like we do. He can sympathize with us because he knows exactly how we feel. More importantly, since He never sinned He is able to help us in our times of need (Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-15).
I realize we all have friends or spouses in whom we confide, but Jesus is better. He isn’t surprised by our deepest yearnings; in fact, He knows them anyway (Hebrews 4:13). We can tell Him anything and everything. We can yell, cry, laugh, and whisper. We don’t have to worry about what He thinks of us because the Bible says He not only understands, He empathizes with us too! There is no better confidant than Jesus.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16
2. Jesus is my mediator and defender.
Sometimes my unworthiness gets the best of me. If I am not careful, I let the enemy’s condemnation steal my joy. It is at those times when I fall back into legalism and offer my “sacrifices” in an attempt to be good enough for God. Trying to defend ourselves never works. It didn’t work in Old Testament times, and it doesn’t work today. Jesus is better. The Bible says Jesus forever lives to intercede for those who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:25; 1 Timothy 2:5).
I’m so thankful Jesus didn’t just go to Heaven and take a break! No, He constantly stands in the gap between us and God. When Satan hurls accusations pointing out our frailties, Jesus becomes our defender, reminding the enemy that our sin debt was paid in full on the cross (1 John 2:1-2). Trusting Jesus to be our mediator is so much better than trying to defend ourselves!
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Romans 8:34
3. Jesus is my sustainer.
Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith. The Greek word translated author can also mean captain, chief leader, or prince. In other words, I don’t have to be the captain of my ship. Jesus is better. He led me to faith from the very beginning and continues to guide and care for me as I leave the steering up to Him!
The Greek word translated perfecter means completer or finisher and speaks of bringing something to its conclusion. What a source of comfort it is to know, especially in times of doubt and struggle, that Jesus will watch over, care for, and sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes until we see Him in Heaven! Nothing and no one can sustain us like Jesus. Jesus is better.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a
We don’t have to put forth a lot of effort to have a better Thanksgiving this year. All we have to do is trust that our lives are so much better because of Jesus. He is our confidant, our mediator, and our sustainer!
Jesus is better!