Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thess. 5:16-18
One area where I have been sorely lacking in 2020 is in being thankful. It is so easy to get distracted by all the negative things related to Covid-19, increased cases, restrictions, election chaos, and you name it. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 was a good reminder to me that as a follower of Jesus, I am to be a thankful person. While we sing about counting our blessings and naming them one by one, we seldom take the time and effort to name our blessings one by one. Maybe one of the reasons that so many people are depressed is because they spend so much time thinking about their frustrations and so little time thinking about their blessings.
We don’t have enough space on this page for me to list all of the things that I am thankful for, but I thought I’d list a few. I’m thankful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am thankful that I have been adopted into God’s family and nothing can pluck me out of His family. I am thankful for the promise of heaven and being forever with the Lord. I am thankful for a Christian wife (Jenny) who loves Jesus and loves me. I am thankful for two Christian children (Kyle and Katelyn). I am thankful for the Christian daughter-in-law (Cierra) that was added to our family this year. I am thankful that Kyle, Katelyn, and Cierra all have good jobs and houses to live in. (Kyle just got a full-time job in November.) I am blessed to have living parents and a living mother-in-law and father-in-law. I am thankful for a sister (and her family) who loves and serves the Lord. I am thankful for friends in Kentucky and around the world. I have been so blessed with wonderful friends (some are in heaven now, but I will see them again). I am thankful for the privilege of serving as the pastor at Burlington Baptist. I am blessed to serve with a staff that love and care for one another. I am blessed to serve with so many wonderful folks who serve the Lord faithfully and encourage me frequently. I am blessed to have a beautiful home, plenty of food to eat, vehicles to drive, and clothes to wear. I am blessed with good health. I am blessed!
As I mentioned on Sunday, if I just evaluated my day in light of these three short verses, I would likely have something to confess every night because I am not constantly joyful, prayerful, and thankful. I definitely want to live with more gratitude. I want to recognize the power of God to work through every circumstance in life to accomplish His purposes. I want to do more praying and less complaining. As a matter of fact, when I do pray more, I usually complain significantly less.
As we come to Thanksgiving 2020, let us not overlook our many blessings. Because Thanksgiving is going to look different for many people this year, we, the church, should be intentional about reaching out in love to those who might be lonely and discouraged this year. Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive. Maybe this is the year that we give more of ourselves to love and serve others. Yes, we will be blessed as God uses us to be a special blessing to someone else. So, will you take some time to count your many blessings? Will you consider who you can bless and minister to this week? May Christ be glorified and may we intentionally be thankful for all circumstances!