One of those memories is of piling onto a futon with Pam and the boys surrounded by junk food, taking the phone off the hook and dedicating a day to watching movies, eating junk food and soak in each other’s company. I recall on those occasions all of us turning the volume down and keeping quiet while stifling a giggle until whoever was ringing the doorbell left because we did not want to answer the door and interrupt our special time.
Other times, movies have been a source of sermon and lesson illustrations. For instance, in the movie Arthur on the Rocks 2, Arthur’s wife serves meatloaf she brought home from work and asks Arthur to give the blessing. He asked “blessings?” and she told him “say something you are thankful for” and so he closes his eyes and says “Thank you that I got the smallest piece of the meatloaf”. That shows there is always something we can give thanks for.
Thankfulness is something that comes to the forefront in the month of November when we celebrate Thanksgiving. For many of us it is a time where we gather with family and friends and enjoy a festive spread and give thanks for all we have been blessed with. For me it is a fantastic bride of almost forty years, two sons who grew up to be men I am proud of, the tremendous privilege of being in ministry and a wonderful church God has allowed me to pastor. Each day I give thanks for all of you and the way you have enriched my life. I would be remiss, however, if I did not recognize that being thankful can be a challenge when someone feels lonely; has suffered a recent loss; is going through financial difficulties; or has a loved one going through a rough time. It is in those times we need to recall that Psalm 23 teaches us that God walks with us in the valleys of our lives as well as the mountain peaks of abundance and blessings. Thus, even in difficult times we are to give thanks to the Lord.
Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:4 [For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.] The immediate context of that text is foods, which would include bad meatloaf. However, the idea of giving God thanks for what we have also means that we focus on what we do have and not lament the things we don’t. This is emphasized by Paul’s words to the Thessalonian church in 1Thessalonians 5:18[Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.]
As our minds gravitate towards Thanksgiving weekend, let us take time to recall that giving thanks to our Lord is a daily endeavor. Another daily endeavor I would encourage us to practice is to give thanks for the blessings we find in our church family. In case I have not said it enough, I thank you all for your support, for your trust, and for the tremendous privilege of being the pastor of SLCC. Each of you have enriched my life in ways that words fail to adequately convey.
Have a blessed November,