Thanksgiving is not a national holiday, but a way of life for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Sometimes when people ask me how they can know God’s will for their life, I tell them it’s already spelled out in Scripture: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Now there’s a recipe for godly living, an antidote to bitterness, a silver bullet for the monster of selfishness.
With that in mind, here are a few things for which I am particularly thankful this year. First, I thank God for a marriage that has never ‘plateaued.’ It just keeps getting better, despite the struggles and the disappointments that are common to every couple. I like what one man said to his wife: “Honey, if you ever leave me, I’m going with you.” Same here, Cindy.
Second, I am thankful for children and grandchildren who love each other and even like their parents. That seems to be rare these days. Someone said children are often closer to their grandparents, because they both have a common enemy.
Third, I am thankful to be in a church that has welcomed me as a member for 28 years. In these days where the nones are growing in number and the dones are staying home Sundays, I am grateful for gatherings of God’s people in many local churches where He is worshiped, His Word is carefully taught, and where fellowship is truly experienced. If you are in one of those places every Sunday, give thanks to God and let the church know how you feel as well. If you are not, don’t stop looking until you find one that you can feel good about joining and serving. Because, despite popular opinion, the church is the sum and substance of God’s plan for the world, and though governments and kingdoms will fall, the church will stand. It will survive persecution, attacks on religious liberty, apathy, ignorance, nones, and dones.
Fourth, I am thankful for brothers. Every Tuesday morning, you can find me meeting with three other men at a local restaurant for encouragement and prayer. We know the dangers of lone ranger Christianity, and we value the challenge we receive from one another every week to keep our hearts where they should be. On Sunday mornings, you will find me meeting before church with the leaders, where we are in the habit of praying together and talking about how to lead, feed, and care for the flock.
Fifth, I am thankful for a routine every week that includes exercise. Running may not be your thing, but do you really have to put a 0.0 sticker on your car? Or say things to runners like, “The only reason I run is when something is chasing me.” Well, the truth is, something is chasing you, friend. Several things are chasing you, including obesity, disease, and death. I don’t know about you, but I want to outpace those bad boys as long as I am able. Hey, you don’t have to run, but what are you doing to take care of the one and only body you will receive this side of glory?
Finally, I am thankful to be a Tar Heel, especially this year. I have always loved pulling for my alma mater, but to have a great year in football and basketball is causing me to have way too much fun.
That’s my list of a few things for which I give thanks. What’s on yours?