Good Morning Brothers…
Are you thankful this morning? I am. I just feel good. I am not battling the ‘curse of the empty freezer’ this year. Hunting season is going well and I am enjoying every day out in the cold. Some of us were ‘born to sing’ or ‘born to run’ well…I was born to wear coveralls, so I am thankful when I’m in the weather that demands them. All of this joy inside has me feeling a bit introspective. I’ve been asking myself this question lately, “What am I thankful for?”
I am thankful for a wife that ‘gets’ me. She has an uncanny way of understanding when the ping-pong balls are bouncing around inside my head. She knows when I need space and when I need hugged. As the years go by, I become more and more aware of the perfect match between us. I can look back and see how God was working through both of our lives many years ago to bring the two of us together. I am thankful that we have Christ in common. Her love for our Lord humbles me and makes me smile.
I am thankful for Baskin-Robbins children. I have 4 kids with a multitude of flavors. I am unable to put ‘dad duties’ on cruise control because of the diversity and needs of my children. Girls and boys come with different buttons and different dials. It is always an adventure when I am pondering which button to push or which dial to turn. They keep me on my knees…that’s a good thing.
I am thankful for my job. My job gives me the flexibility to get involved with many different things. I enjoy the blue collar attitude and the rough and tumble world of building. My job has taught me the value of having the right tool for the job, and more importantly, the right people to work the right tool. Always a challenge, never boring, surrounded by good people, my job nourishes me.
I am thankful for my church. My church empowers and enables me to do kingdom work. They serve as guides, sparring partners, and friends. They have created an environment where growth is possible. Encouraged me to dig deeper and press into the Lord a little farther. I appreciate any place that encourages me to think and just not to obey. I can’t imagine serving the Lord without the ties I enjoy from my church.
I am thankful for my friends. The Lord has blessed me with a wide array of deep, talented, inspiring friends. Every time my cell phone rings with questions about Scripture, advice for a problem, or the simple conversation of friends who both love the Lord, my heart warms with gratitude to our Lord. My life is fuller because of the men and women God has placed here with me.
While all of these things are true, these are the things I am supposed to be thankful for, these are the things we teach our children to be thankful for…but there is more.
I am thankful for my sin. I am thankful for the afflictions of sin because they cause me to seek God all the more. I realize that I am in need of the blood of the lamb because of my sin. I understand the magnitude of the debt paid on the cross by Jesus because of my sin. I am aware of my place with my Lord because of my afflictions. I am claimed by Him, washed by Him, and loved by Him…my sin keeps me conscious of this.
I am thankful for faith. I am thankful that God has revealed Himself to me then…and continues to reveal Himself to me now. Faith is an interesting thing. At one time in my life, I didn’t have faith. Now…faith is such a part of me that I can’t imagine life without faith. It has become less of something that I hold onto and more of something that I am. To know that faith is given and sustained by God is to know that my faith is constantly reinforced against the evils of the world by the very same being that created the world. I am thankful for that…obviously.
I am thankful for love. I love my family and I love the outdoors, but I really love the love that God bestows through grace. God loves us outside of Himself…meaning, He doesn’t love us to get something back. He loves us even if we offer nothing in return. This kind of love makes me question whether I love anything. I love my wife because I get back relationship. I love the outdoors because of what I get back from it. God loves me even when I give back evil. I love that kind of love because it helps me believe that I can love like that.
This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us all focus on the things we are thankful for. Certainly our families, our churches, etc…but let also focus on the love that is eternal, that is pure, that is God Himself.
“Lord in Heaven, I love You…my desire is to love You even if I wasn’t receiving anything in return…May love grow, inside me, inside those listening in to my prayer, inside us all…May we grow into a place where Your love flows out of all of us onto the world around us…May we fulfill Your will to love others as You love us…May we change the world. Amen”