Today is thanksgiving. It is a day for expressing gratitude. But before we express what we are grateful for, we want to remember who we are grateful to. We give thanks to God because it is through him that we have everything we have. Without him, we would have nothing. Make sure, amidst the busyness of this day, to set aside some time of quiet to offer a prayer of appreciation to him.
In my Thanksgiving Eve message to our church last night, I encouraged everyone to write down the things they are thankful for. I offered four categories and encouraged everyone to come up with five things for each category. The categories were:
Here is my list.
People come first. I am thankful for:
- You (whoever you are, wherever you are, however we may know each other or be connected, even if you are just taking a few moments to read this.)
Opportunities are the things that God enables you to do. I am thankful:
- To celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, sharing a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I am looking forward to the turkey. And my favorite side dish is gravy with my mashed potatoes.
- To write this and that I can share this with you. I am sometimes amazed that anyone takes the time to read what I have to share.
- To serve as a pastor in the times in which we live. The mission of God is so important right now. I am grateful that God trusts me to figure out ministry in such uncertain times.
- To run and move and breath. I am thankful for my good health and that I can physically exert myself and exercise. After I post this, it is time to do a Turkey Trot.
- To make music. I am blessed that I learned to play the guitar and can offer songs of praise to God.
Experiences are moments of the past which you treasure. They are accomplishments that make you proud. I am thankful:
- For the places I have been able to travel in my life (both internationally and nationally).
- For the places I have lived (Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Jerusalem Israel, Virginia, New Jersey).
- For the churches I have served as a pastor — Bethany, Waynesboro, Virginia; Lord of Life, LaFox, Illinois; and Good Shepherd, Old Bridge, NJ.
- To have written two books and have one that topped the Amazon Best Seller list in Christian Devotions.
- I am thankful I saw the Chicago Cubs win a World Series in my lifetime.
Things come last, but it is nice to have things. And we don’t want to take these things for granted. Keep in mind that all these things are temporary. I am grateful for:
- My gadget toys — my MacBook, iPad, iPhone. I am amazed by the power and what we can do with these gadgets (write a blog post, take a family photo, track a run, connect with old friends, etc). I pray that we would all be responsible in the use of these things.
- My home. It may need a little work, but the fact that it needs some work means that I have a home.
- My car. It is 10 years old and still running strong! It gets me everywhere I need to get.
- My guitars. Not just one, but two! One is a Martin that has such an incredible sound. I need to play more!
- A cup of coffee. There is something so calming about a cup of coffee during my morning devotion time.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving. My prayer is that God would prosper you and your family in the coming year. And if you have the opportunity, take a moment and share what you are thankful for in the comments on this post. I would love to hear what you are grateful for today.