Thanksgiving: New Beginnings

Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the lan...

Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the landing party, when the Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod, November 11, 1620 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pilgrims were contracted into the governance of the Virginia Charter by signature when they chose to journey to America. Because the Pilgrims planned to settle in Cape Cod instead of the colony of Jamestown the Virginia Charter could not govern them. They believed God was guiding them to what would later be known as Plymouth (See Thanksgiving: Closed Doors and a Change of Direction). Elder William Brewster called a meeting with the Pilgrim leaders and explained that without a charter of their own there would be no laws to govern and no one to enforce decency.  Some on the ship had already heard others boasting of their freedoms to do whatever they willed once on land.  The Pilgrim leaders agreed that without an established civil government with a firm Christian base, they would soon have sedition and lawlessness.  There was a call to prayer for God’s guidance in the creation of a new charter.  William Bradford declared that he believed God had led them away from Virginia just for this very reason.  Bradford believed God wanted all men to see what He could do with a people who totally relied on Him for everything including their government. 

William Brewster quoted “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14).  They recalled what their pastor in Holland had taught them about the governing of the early church. 

Bradford declared, “The Lord Jesus is King of His Church and holds all power in haven and earth.  Christ the Lord gives each Christian the power of self-government.  Christians then elect representatives, or elders, from among themselves to serve them and be examples to them.”  

Page from William Bradford's Of Plimoth Planta...Thus the Mayflower Compact was written and the members of the Plymouth Colony chose to relinquish their individual independence, and live as a covenanted people. The Mayflower Compact is one of the pillars of American constitutional government. This is the first time in recorded history that free and equal men voluntarily covenanted together to create their own civil government.  Along with the ratification of the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims elected John Carver as their first governor.

The Pilgrims were blessed with great leaders who sought to serve God first, their families second, and each other third. Their story inspires me to be a better man. The choices they made while still on the Mayflower have influenced America for nearly four hundred years. They chose a fresh start guided by God and his guiding hand. They did not yet realize the hardships before them. They were ill-prepared for the coming months. But they chose to settle this barren wilderness, and to allow their God to be their guide.

This Thanksgiving let us be thankful for the new beginnings that God offers us, and remember to follow the one who knows the outcomes of every decision. Only he knows what lies in store for us in coming days, and only he can guide us.


Thanksgiving Posts

Thanksgiving: A Change of Direction

Thanksgiving: Promised Hope

Thanksgiving: When LIfe’s Difficult

Thanksgiving: Prosperity


About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

5 Responses to Thanksgiving: New Beginnings

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving: When Life’s Difficult « Studying the Way

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving: Promised Hope « Studying the Way

  3. Pingback: Thanksgiving: A Change of Direction « Studying the Way

  4. Pingback: THE THANKSGIVING SONG « Ioan17 – John 17

  5. Pingback: Thanksgiving: Prosperity « Studying the Way

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