The Pastor's Corner for November 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I read that Alex Haley, the author of Roots, had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When Mr. Haley was asked why he had a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post hanging on his office wall his response was:
“Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think they are wonderful and begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of that fence post and I remember that he didn't get there on his own. He had help. And so have I.”
The truth is all of us have had help to get to where we are today. The psalmist poses the question, “Where does our help come from?” Psalm 121:2 tells us, “My help comes from the Lord. The Maker of heaven and earth.”
The basis of thankfulness is to remember that we got here with the help of God, and that God is the provider of every blessing we receive. All that we have comes from our Gracious Lord. I think sometimes we forget that.
In Luke's Gospel, we can read about Jesus' miraculous healing of the 10 lepers. We can also read that only one of the ten returned to Jesus to give him thanks. That story has always bothered me. Where were the others? Why didn't they show their gratitude to Jesus?
Maybe they considered their healing to be coincidental. After all, Jesus hadn't touched them. He just told them to go and see the priest. Maybe it was just a coincidence that they experienced healing after talking to Jesus. Maybe they were just lucky.
Or maybe they felt they were in some way responsible for their healing. They were the ones who decided to give Jesus a try. They were the ones who cried out. They were the ones who acted in faith by heading to the priest. If they were grateful, they were grateful for their own wisdom and resourcefulness.
Or maybe they were just in a hurry. They were excited to get back to their families. They couldn't take the time to say thank you.
Still, I find it very hard to understand why only one returned to give thanks. That is until I think about all the good things that have happened in my life and the times when I did not say thank you to God.
Maybe you, too, have sometimes forgotten to praise the Lord for the many blessings in your life. The Thanksgiving season is upon us. I invite you to join with me in offering praise and prayers of thanksgiving on a daily basis. Let us not let one day go by without giving thanks to our Lord for our blessings.
Centuries ago church father Clement of Alexandria wrote, “There is only one offering we can make to God – a thankful heart.” May it be so for us all!
Have a Blessed Thankful Thanksgiving.
And all God's children said,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Remember the old hymn “Count Your Blessings?” The refrain reads:
Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God has done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
As I read those words, I thought, “Where do I begin to count the many blessings in my life?' In not any particular order, I began to count my blessings. I soon discovered the list has no end because each day brings new blessings.
The truth is when we take the time to stop and think about the many blessings in our lives, we realize they are countless. And granted, for all of us, there are times we don't feel particularly blessed, times when there isn’t enough money to pay the bills, times of illness, troubled relationships, losses, various trials. Yet, even during difficult times, God continues to bless us with his love, strength, and courage.
Psalm 24:1 reads, “The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” In other words, all we have and all we are come from God. All the blessings in our lives are gifts from God. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father and the heavenly lights” (James 1:17).
We are taught from an early age to say “thank you” upon receiving a gift. So how do we say 'Thank you” to God for the many, many gifts He has given to us?
One way we say “thank you” is to set aside a portion of our earnings and offer them back to God in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings we have been given.
One of my most favorite scriptures about giving is found in the Second Book of Corinthians:
“Each one should give then, as he has decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly. And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause. As the Scripture says, ‘He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.’ And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-10)
May we be generous in our giving to God just as God is generous to us.
And All God's Children Said,
In Christ's Love,
Pastor Kim Dewey