Pastor in the Pasture Wendell Elliott: Giving Thanks at the Chuckwagon
The wagon and smell of campfire and food was welcomed as we trotted in after a long day. We left camp early that morning and long trotted to the place we were to start the gather. Even after all the miles traveled we still had lots of country to ride. We gathered and held herd as the wagon boss got cutters lined out. The cutters started separating the herd into steer pairs and heifer pairs. These two herds were to be driven to and turned out on different pastures to hold them until weaning and shipping. Boy howdy, I was hungry! My ol’ stomach was rumbling and wondering when lunch would be arriving. We all knew it was going to be one of those lunches that didn’t come about straight up at 12 o’clock. Some had packed jerky and an extra biscuit this morning to hold them over.
Well now it was after 2 o’clock and it was taking everything inside of me to keep from lopin’ straight to the wagon for some grub. After we got horses unsaddled and taken care of we didn’t drag our feet none making our way to the wagon. We got our plates because the cocinero had it ready and he wasn’t going to holler twice. The meal was a hearty stew with big hunks of tender beef, potatoes, carrots and onions. The cornbread in the dutch ovens was hot and a just right golden brown. A healthy slab of butter on the cornbread was like icing on a cake. It sure was good and I was thankful.
Even though it wasn’t quite time to celebrate Thanksgiving I was finding myself thankful for the meal, thankful for the work that I enjoy, and thankful for the men that I got to work with that day. Most of all, I couldn’t help but be thankful for God’s presence. His creation was all around and I was able to be right in the middle of it and blessed to be enjoying it. Now don’t you be hearing me worshipping the creation because I was worshipping the Creator. I was telling Him, “Thank you,” for everything He had brought about that day, being with me through it all, and the benefits of having Him in my life.
We find ourselves giving Him thanks for simple things like stew after a long day of work. However, the many benefits from God’s presence in our life are much bigger and are to be remembered. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we have the promised Holy Spirit, which is His presence in us. The children of Israel experienced God’s presence in different ways and one of those was the Ark of the Covenant. In 1 Chronicles 16 we see David bringing the Ark back among God’s people and them giving thanks for God’s presence being back with them. They celebrated with a feast of bread, meat, and raisin cakes that David gave to everyone. The benefits throughout chapter 16 shows God choosing them as His people, His protection of them from their enemies, His goodness and lovingkindness for them, and His salvation for them. David’s psalm is included in this passage, praising God and thanking Him for His presence among them.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.” (1 Chronicles 16:8-10, NASB)
As you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year give the Lord praise and glory for His presence in your life, proclaim all He has done for you among the peoples, and let them know of His salvation.
Man, this stew sure is good!
I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!