22 Jul Give Thanks Today (LOOK IN THE MIRROR Day Three) (July 21)
Read Ephesians 1:3-23
Thought for the Day: No one can take away my ability to give thanks!
Growing up, my brother and I regularly visited a farm about 10 minutes down the road from where we lived. We got to know its owners, the Reed Family, and quickly fell in love with its dominant feature: a 250+ year-old white ash tree with a homemade swing. Even as an 11-year-old, I knew there was something special about that tree. Every time we visited the Reed Farm, I pushed my little brother on the swing and was filled with gratitude. Some of my happiest memories were spending time with Todd on and around that tree, the oldest white ash in the state at the time. Then one day, the tree was struck by lightning and split in two. Recently, I went back to visit where the tree had once stood and even the stump was now gone. But because of my great memories, I am very grateful.
Writing from prison to the Church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul had to rely on his memories. Wrapped in chains and kept away from other believers, Paul could have easily felt bitter. Amazingly, he wasn’t. Instead of writing out of frustration and anger, Paul was grateful. His statement, “I do not cease to give thanks”, is a powerful one! Even with circumstances outside of his control, Paul understood that his role was to simply be grateful. If he was in charge, he never would have voluntarily given up his freedom to preach the Gospel around the world. Paul didn’t fight his circumstances; he simply chose to be grateful and embrace the good. No one could take away Paul’s faith, memories, or gratitude.
Let’s make sure we don’t limit giving thanks to only one day a year. Every day, no matter what our circumstances are, we have much to be thankful for. We can avoid being frustrated and anxious about the things we cannot control. We can also be thankful as we recreate our memories of our past. We have the amazing opportunity to simply not cease to give thanks. Today may not be Thanksgiving Day, but we have much to be grateful for!
Pastor David (and Stan)