Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Remember to Give Thanks

It seems hard to believe we are nearing the end of the November and another holiday season. For many people Thanksgiving kicks off a hectic season of shopping, parties, and holiday activities. Don’t get me wrong. I love the celebration of Christmas, but sometimes we seem we rush past the season of giving thanks. We have so much for which to be thankful. Our nation is the wealthiest in the world, and while our wealth is certainly not shared equally among our citizens, we take for granted may things which would be luxuries in many countries.

In the seventeenth chapter of Luke Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem when he is confronted by ten lepers seeking healing. He instructs them to “go and show themselves to the priests,” and as they went they were cleansed. Incredibly only one, a Samaritan, returned to offer praise and thanks for his healing. Jesus responded by asking a penetrating question—where are the other nine? Where are those who ought to be giving thanks for God’s blessing? I am confident sometimes our Heavenly Father looks at his people and once again asks—where are the nine? Gratitude is at the heart of our worship. It is the foundation of Christian discipleship and Christian stewardship. It is the acknowledgement that all we are, all we possess, and all we hope to be are gifts from God.

I have been incredibly blessed. God has provided for my needs often before I was aware of them. He has been generous to me and given me opportunities I never imagined I would have. He gave me the wonderful heritage of Christian parents and grandparents. He provided opportunities for education and places to learn and grow. He led me to the one who became my wife and gave us the gift of raising our sons and now enjoying our grandchildren. He has allowed me to serve with wonderful and gracious people, and he invited me (as he does all of us) to join him in his work in our world.

I often suggest to people they should follow the tradition of the children of Israel in the Old Testament. They often gathered for worship and “recounted the mighty acts of God on their behalf.” We should also recount the mighty acts of God on our behalf. I encourage you during this season of giving thanks to take some time to make a list of the many things God has done for you. Maybe you have forgotten about some of them from long ago. Think about the stages and years of your life. Ask God to help you recall all that he has done for you. When you complete your list, you will be ready to “recount” the mighty acts of God on your behalf. Don’t forget to pause during this season to do as they Samaritan leper and say “thank you” to a gracious and generous God.

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