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The Under-Appreciated Legacy of Lincoln

November 19, 2012

As Steven Spielbergs film Lincoln plastered the most pivotal moments of Lincolns last years on the movie screen this weekend, I could not help but to think of a decision our 15th president made that has been all but forgotten.

Abraham Lincoln

In July of 1863, men from across America engaged in the crucible of what is now called the United States of America. Most historians call the Battle of Gettysburg the moment the tide of the Civil War began to drive in favor of the Union thus preserving the United States. It was a battle that left fields painted red, mothers without sons, sisters without brothers, children without their fathers and cities without men. It catapulted a divided nation into terror, as 1 out of every 3 men who fought, died, tallying more than 51,000 deaths.

Fast forward two months, the nation had yet to recover from Gettysburg. Both armies lived in shock of that July and in fear that it could happen again. The town of Gettysburg was a microcosm of the nation- wearied and tried from burying the dead. The eyes of the nation grew faint, and men omitted from the war attempted to lead but failed.

In the midst of the painful despair of a nation, Abraham Lincoln, stood as the President of the United States and called all men in the New World to set aside the last Thursday of November as a day for giving thanks and for prayer. Some saw it as a holiday; I believe Lincoln saw it as the means to repairing of a tattered people.

There seems to be more books written on Lincoln than any other president, but this one decree might be one of the most overlooked actions of his presidency. Here are four principles we can take away from Lincoln and the Thanksgiving of 1863.

  1. In grief, giving thanks forces our selfish eyes to be drawn to the Victorious Redeemer. I Cor. 15:52-57
  2. In despair, giving thanks apprehends the weight of our dependence on the Divine Orchestrator. Ps. 118
  3. In victory, giving thanks humbles us in our to our knees before the Glorious King. 1 Chron. 6:8-3
  4. In the repetition of life, giving thanks inflames our soul to the Hope of the Gospel. 2 Thes. 2:14-18

Giving thanks with our lives and reflecting on the glory of God aligns our lives to who He is. When your life as a leader is aligned to reflect Gods glory then the people you lead and influence begin to see the hand of God regardless of the valleys and mountains you walk through. As Thanksgiving approaches, I began to ponder this question:

How do you realign yourself as a spiritual leader in a secular world?

written by Brad Hobbs

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