The pilgrims, remembered for the first Thanksgiving dinner, developed an interesting custom. They would place five kernels of corn on each empty plate before bringing out the Thanksgiving feast. Why? They never wanted to forget to be thankful. You see, before the first harvest in the New World, things were so bad that they had to ration food at a rate of five kernels of corn per person per day. How far they had come! Rather, how far God had brought them! This helped them remember to be thankful for God’s gifts. Similarly, God encouraged the Israelites: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. . . . Remember the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:10,18).
How will you remember to give thanks? Perhaps you could be reminded of God’s physical gifts by placing five kernels of corn on your plate like the pilgrims did. But might I suggest you go a bit deeper? To better appreciate God’s greater gifts, you could place a black napkin (to represent “dirty”) on each plate at the table. Why? To lead you to remember that as you remove that napkin from your plate and fill your plate with good things, so God has removed the dirtiness of your wrongs by dying on a cross and has now filled your plate with every promise of his love and protection! This amazing gift of salvation far outstrips all the kernels of corn in the world!