Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Giving Thanks

As we prepare to fill our faces with turkey and all the trimmings, our eyes with parades and football games, and our most comfortable chairs with our seated carcasses this coming Thursday, here’s a list — far from exhaustive, mind you — of things for which I will express my gratitude this Thanksgiving Day.

I’m thankful for (in no particular order):
Christian brethren in faraway places — whose simple faith and enthusiasm reminds us how blessed we Americans are, and how much we take for granted.

The avenue of prayer, and knowing that my God is never too big or too busy to listen when I call upon Him.

My wife’s continued faithful love and support to me after ten years of marriage.
My children’s laughter when they play or when we share a funny story together.

For the wonderful three families I enjoy. The physical family I was born into, the spiritual family I received at my "second born" and the family of my wife.

God’s grace — He gives me so much that I don’t deserve. Which includes pretty much everything He gives me.

God’s mercy — He doesn’t open the earth and swallow me when I disappoint Him, even at times when, if I were Him, I probably would.

The small little things like: a charcoal grill on a warm summer afternoon. A DSL connection. Comfortable shoes. Cheese. (Need I say more?) Self-adhesive postage stamps. A car that starts in the morning.

Health insurance. Life without it would be both scarier and more expensive.

The life of the apostle Paul. I’ve recently been engaged in a powerful and enlightening study on Wednesday evenings from the incredible life of this great man of God. .

The example of humble people of faith: Tabitha; the servants of Naaman; Barnabas; Mary of Bethany; Gideon; the one grateful leper of the ten who were healed; the widow who put her whole living into the temple treasury. I pray that I can become more like them.

The example of a humble, loving Lord: I pray to become more like Him, too.

Good preaching done by someone else.

The encouragement of knowing that, like Peter, and David, and John Mark, I can fall short of the goal and still be both forgiven and useful, if I repent and mend my ways.

The hope of heaven.

Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Nothing on earth lifts the spirits more quickly than singing a few songs of faith and joy.

Elders who care about the Lord’s people and the Lord’s work, and have the courage, compassion, and foresight to be moved the first to accomplish the second.

The other night the first Spider-Man movie was on TV. Do you remember the scene where Peter Parker was told “With great power comes great responsibility.” Jesus said it long before Spider-Man did: “For everyone to whom much is given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

Truly Thanksgiving reminds me that I have been given much in this life. I thank God every day for all that He has, by His grace, permitted me to enjoy. But because I have been given much, much is required of me. I dare not ever forget that.

This Thanksgiving, I should be grateful not only for all I am and have, but for the opportunities to serve God that those blessings represent. If I am truly thankful for opportunities to serve, I will use them wisely. You should too.

Which reminds me: I’m thankful for you. You’ll be in my prayers, this Thanksgiving Day.

Because of Him,


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