2160) “Earnest People” (part two of two)

Pilgrims Going to Church by George Henry Boughton

Pilgrims Going to Church, 1867, George Henry Boughton  (1833-1905)


A Thanksgiving meditation by Billy Graham, first published in Decision magazine, July 1971



Fourth, the Pilgrims left us an example of a people who had keen social concern.

     The Pilgrims believed that every person was made in the image of God, and that each one was of infinite value and worth in the sight of God.  They lived with Native Americans who had a different religion, a different skin color, and a different culture.  In March of 1621 Chief Samoset visited the Pilgrims’ village and signed a peace treaty that lasted for many years.  It was a treaty with high social and ethical content, showing a deep concern for the social, political and spiritual needs of neighbors.

     Though the Pilgrims knew that they were citizens of another world, they sought to improve the world they were passing through.  The Pilgrims made their world better, not by tearing down the old, but by constructive toil and fair dealings with their neighbors.

Fifth, the Pilgrims were evangelists who set us an example in sharing their spiritual and material blessings with others.

     In the Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims committed themselves to the “advancement of the Christian faith.”  The Pilgrims at Plymouth were followed by the Puritans at Massachusetts Bay.  Together they built churches and schools.  In 1636 Harvard College was founded to train men for the ministry.  By 1663 the first Bible was printed for the Native Americans (Algoquin) in their own tongue.

     These settlers came to the new world not only to find freedom for themselves but also to tell others of their faith.

Sixth, the Pilgrims were people of vision and hope.

     For “where there is no vision, the people perish” ((Proverbs 29:18), says the Bible.  The Pilgrims dreamed great dreams.  They dreamed of a haven for themselves and for their children.  They dreamed of religious freedom.  They dreamed of a world where God would rule the hearts of all people.   They lived and died with these hopes.  The Pilgrims’ strength of spirit was forged by a personal faith in Christ, by tough discipline and by regular habits of devotion.

     Today it seems that many of us have neither vision nor hope.  But if we so chose, we too could become like the Pilgrims.  We could regain hope.  We could recover the spiritual and the moral strength that we have lost.  But we would have to be willing to take up the same cross of Christ that they bore.  We would have to put our faith in the same Christ that they did.  We would have to make the same kind of lifetime commitments that they made. We would have to discipline ourselves is they did.

     And, like the Pilgrims, we need to dream great dreams, embrace great principles, renew our hope, and above all, believe in the Christ who alone can give meaning and an ultimate goal to our lives: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).


I Thessalonians 5:18  —  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 118:29  —  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 30:12b  —  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Ephesians 5:19b-20  —  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:15  —  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.

Colossians 3:17  —  Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


God, eternity won’t be long enough to thank you for all you’ve given us and all you will give us in the ages to come.  May we not wait until we see you to be filled with gratitude for the saving work of Jesus, along with every other gift you give to us.  May our hearts overflow with gratitude to you this Thanksgiving, and each day.  Amen.

–Randy Alcorn