Be Thankful

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”   2 Corinthians 9:15

I was especially moved this past week by a picture in the
Champaign News Gazette newspaper of a couple in Gifford,
Illinois that lost their home in the recent tornado.  They are
kneeling in front of the rubble holding a sign that was inside
their house when it came tumbling down.  The sign says, “And
they lived happily ever after.”

The wonderful picture was taken by Brandon Cagle, but what I
found most impressive were the smiles on the couples faces.
In the background lie all of their possessions in a pile and
yet here they are truly reflecting the message on the sign
that they are holding.

Tornado picture web

That gives us something to think about this week along with
all of those good things we normally give thanks for.  I ran
across something that helps to put some of those things into
perspective, it goes like this….

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich
fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the
setbacks.  Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find
a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become
your blessings.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week we can and will give
thanks for many things.  But in the verse above, Paul gives
thanks to God for the one gift that is really hard to describe
and incredible to think about.  God’s gift of salvation and
grace to us through his Son Jesus Christ.

That should be the first thing on our list when we think of
what we are thankful for.  Sure we are thankful for family,
friends, and other things, but without God’s grace and love
for us where would we be?

My hope this week is that we can join that couple in the
newspaper photo and say, “whatever happens, I will keep a
smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.”  If we can do
that I truly believe that we can and will live happily ever
after.

Make it personal:  Make a copy of those things listed above
and place it somewhere that it can help you remember how we
can also be thankful for the setbacks that inevitably will
come our way from time to time.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community life, Arthur Mennonite Church