The sermon audio from last night’s Thanksgiving Eve (Eve) worship service is here.  Full text, which only approximates what I actually say, is below.

[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/33052/224260-leftovers.mp3]

Okay, let me get the obligatory Thanksgiving eve (eve) sermon shaming out of the way.

We have a lot of stuff we should be thankful for and you’re not thankful enough, often enough.

It is ironic that the day after we’re thankful we’re in the hunt for more stuff and will go to great lengths to get it.

Because you have been given much to be thankful for, you should be generous in your giving of time, money, stuff and whatever else you can give.

Have I missed any of the obligatory Thanksgiving eve (eve) sermon shaming topics or are we good with these?

Good, thanks.  Because what I really want to talk about is leftovers.  Leftovers are a whole lot more fun than shaming.  And really, on what day of the year do we generate more leftovers than on Thanksgiving?  Christmas might have quite a few ham and potatoes leftover.  Memorial Day and Labor Day might have the odd hotdog or potato salad leftover.  But for sheer volume and wide variety, Thanksgiving is the top of the heap when it comes to generating the most leftovers.

For this I am thankful.  I love leftovers.  What do you think?  Do you like leftovers?  If you like leftovers, which is your favorite leftover?  How many ways can you use turkey in the week following Thanksgiving?

Not everyone loves leftovers but I kind of do.  Of course, not everything is good as a leftover.  French fries don’t leftover very well, for example.  Chicken nuggets aren’t great to begin with and they certainly don’t improve with reheating.  And after you put the dressing on the salad, well, better eat it all up.

Following #leftover on Twitter is pretty interesting and don’t get me started on Pinterest.  Apparently you can make wonderful, interesting and beautiful things out of leftovers if you just follow the directions on Pinterest.

Ah, leftovers.  They really are a wonderful thing.

Usually.  Until they aren’t a wonderful thing.

One of the times leftovers aren’t a wonderful thing is when we are called on to use our gifts that God has given us.  And we all have gifts.  When we are called on to use our gifts it isn’t our second best that we’re called to share.  We’re called to give our very best, our first fruits, not what is leftover.

That’s not just a churchy thing, either.  We’re called to give God our best, our first fruits, in all aspects of our life not just on Sunday morning and the occasional Thanksgiving Eve (Eve) worship.  When we go to the work place, we’re called to give God our best.  When we’re driving down the street, we’re called to give God our best.  Which, to be clear, does not include honking, flashing lights and rude hand gestures.

When we give God our leftovers at home, at work, on the road and yes, even at church, it leaves everyone feeling a little warmed over but not very satisfied.

The cool thing is that when we give God our first fruits, the best that we have to offer,  that doesn’t mean God gets all the good stuff from us and we get whatever is leftover.  God’s generosity is such that when we give our first fruits, our best, that doesn’t mean we’re stuck with leftovers that sit in the back of the fridge until they become a very special kind of art form.  It means that in God’s economy there is enough for everyone to have and to share.  It means God is generous which leads us to be generous at the same time.

I suspect that most of us here tonight are generous kinds of people.  I don’t know that for sure but I think I’m right on this one.  I don’t have any grand insight into your generosity I just figure that people who gather to give thanks for what they have are generous kinds of people.

The thing is, giving our best opens our eyes to see what God is doing in our lives.  And for that, we can be thankful.  Maybe that is what the world needs more of?  More people gathering to share actual thankfulness and thanksgiving?

That’s what this holiday is all about.  Giving God our best and giving God thanks for the gifts we’ve been given.

Thanks be to God

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