As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, let this not be thought of as a day for Americans to give thanks to God, but all people on Earth. Set aside a small portion of your day to give thanks to God for what you have. Turn off the distractions of the world, and do not allow yourselves to succumb to divisions of man. For one brief moment, turn to God with your families and friends in your hearts no matter how distant they may be.
To give thanks to God is rooted in Judaism and carried on through Christianity. To be humble and ask forgiveness of transgressions is every bit a part of Judaism as it is in Christianity. The belief in a forgiving God is every bit as rooted in Judaism as Moses.
One does not need to go back thousands of years to find someone who thanked God as he humbled himself to ask forgiveness of a God he never doubted existed. This was a man who had been given absolute control over a military and walked away from power after the war had been won. For all others throughout recorded history, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those in power over a military force seek to grow their power, such was the case of Julius Caesar.
This was a man who was born to royal blood into a wealthy family who were absolutely loyal to the crown. He was the oldest son, which mean the responsibility to the future of his family rested on his shoulders. His teachings at church, home and school justified the owning of the slaves he would later inherit. Being taught that slavery was justified should have resulted in his seeing slaves as nothing more than property.
He contracted numerous diseases throughout his life that may have been common in his day, but not to the same person. In total, there were 9 diseases he contracted that could have killed him. Diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy, carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottis were all considered deadly at the time. He believed it was God who spared his life each time he survived a deadly infection, which kept him humble before God throughout his life.
This man was George Washington, America’s first president who had been commander of the continental military. He was given absolute control by a Congress who promised to fund and supply the fledgling force, but often failed to live up to the promises made. The soldiers and sailors under his command were more loyal to him than Congress. Washington could have led the military to take Congress and declare himself emperor or king if he wanted, but never gave in to the temptation that must have been there.
Once the war ended, Washington resigned and returned home. He chose to walk away from absolute power. Only someone truly humbled by God would walk away, which is why it almost never happens for the exception of Washington. Those who are natural leaders put into a position of power will always come to believe they are more important than the cause they fight for, but Washington never lost track of the cause he risked everything for.
The following is from America’s first president, George Washington. As you read through what was written in 1789, you will find it is what any leader wishes for a nation who believes in God. More than leaders of nations, but leaders in all walks of life.
Towards the end, Washington writes of asking forgiveness of God for national transgressions. It was a new nation, and the transgressions were a direct reference to slavery that had not been brought to an end. Unlike most plantation owners who had been raised to believe in the justification of slavery, he believed it to be an abhorrent practice, and carried himself with the understanding the newly formed republic was more important than he was. He could no more call out slavery by name as John Adams who became the second president and was a lifelong abolitionist.
Virginia had a law that carried over from being a colony that made it illegal to free any slave if the owner had any debt. All slave owners had debt, no matter how successful and wealthy they were. It was to ensure no one acted the way Washington wanted to act. There was no law about freeing slaves upon death, which is what Washington did.
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.