I really am thankful for a lot of things…in fact it’s not so much things as people. (Although, daily bread, a house and bed, clothes, shoes, clean water, indoor plumbing, are things I enjoy) I’m thankful for a Mom and Dad that loved me, taught me good things, provided for me, protected me….FORGAVE ME!!!!!!! I’m thankful for a wife that is way above my pay grade…Who after 35 years still makes my heart race when I walk through the door and see her face. I’m thankful for friends that love me and invite me to spend time with them…real friends that I don’t have to entertain or walk on eggshells around. I’m thankful for a job I love and for the opportunity to do what I believe I was made to do. I’m thankful for my children, because I had to have children to get grandchildren. I’m thankful for America, and even though I do not agree with the direction we are heading, I still believe we live in the free-est, greatest, country in the world. I am thankful for Soldiers who have fought, died, been disfigured and wounded, physically and mentally for us to have those freedoms. I am most thankful for God’s love…how He loved me when I was sooooooooooooooo far from lovable. I’m thankful He loved me first, and began to call out to me like a Mother calls her children home at dark. Without that amazing intervention in my life 36 years ago I would not have any of the aforementioned people or things in my life right now, because my life would have been over, long before any of those things and people came along.
However, I need to honestly confess something to you. I don’t know the right things to be thankful for at the right times. We have one of the most amazing art shows going on at Gardenside Christian Church in our foyer right now. It’s a group of pictures from James Lane Allen Elementary School (My Alma Mater). Here’s a sampling :
Some of the kids were thankful for their dogs, some their parents and friends, others were thankful for their pencil, or crayons…I think one of my favorites was “Reeses Cups.” We put a note box on the bottom of each picture so our folks could write encouraging things to each of the students. I love when we do stuff like this with our community and our schools. These kids knew right way what to be thankful for…at least for them it was simple.
I’ve discovered that Romans 8:28 totally messes up the simple side of Thanksgiving for me….Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” (by the way Romans 8:29 tells us that God’s purpose is to transform us to be like Jesus, His only son). Here’s my thanksgiving problem: I’m thankful for the Velocity channel on T.V. because I like to relax in my boxer shorts on Sunday nights (sorry about that image in your brain) while eating little meat snacks and watching Muscle cars. But I’m convinced that doesn’t make me like Jesus. It might help me keep my sanity and stop me from strangling someone, but it just doesn’t make me like Jesus. I’m always thankful for the Lazy boy recliner…I’m just never thankful immediately for the cross. I’m always thankful for the full belly after I eat at Wendy’s…I’m just never thoughtful enough that I’m thankful for fasting so I can focus on more important things than food. It’s only after God works that I become thankful. It’s only after God takes the most horrendous event in my life and turns it into the most joyful and beautiful that I look back on it and thank God. I’m never thankful for the things that give me a scar….until those scars become testimonies of His saving and transforming goodness. Romans 8:28 (and 29) have a way of messing up “instant gratification” and the items I have become thankful for…Maybe what I’m saying is….I’m thankful God is in control and not me….He’s a lot smarter than me and His plan is a lot better than mine…even when it destroys all the little white picket fences I dream about. Happy Thanksgiving to you all…but don’t forget to thank God for the best things that come from the hardest things….Besides, “Chicks dig scars…at least that’s what my wife Kari tells me.”
Thankful…but still figuring out for what,