God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?
For most people it is easy to quickly rattle off some of the things we're thankful for, but Thanksgiving should require more of us than that. It should be a time of deep reflection. Consider the sign on the church marquee: "Do The Math: Count Your Blessings."
One of my favorite songs is "Give Thanks," and its lyrics sum it up so well …
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
We give thanks to You oh Lord
We give thanks
America has a rich Thanksgiving heritage, rooted in the biblical admonition to give thanks. In a Thanksgiving address, George Washington said, "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore His protection and favor."
Those who are quick to chime in a mistaken view of the separation of church and state should consider Washington's encouragement for Americans to "unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country … for the signal and manifold mercies … for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed." The president went on to implore Americans to "most humbly offer our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions."
During my newspaper career, it was a joyful exercise to write a column reflecting on my Thanksgiving thoughts.
This Thanksgiving, I'm particularly thankful for…
• Opportunities the Lord presents each day to tell someone about Him.
• Talented co-laborers in the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
• Those times when my wife and I are talking and one of us says something so funny that we can't stop laughing.
• Churches that are faithful to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• The miracle of our daughter Cindy — after 12 years she still has the record at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the person with the most severe melanoma case to be cancer-free.
• Grandchildren. Need I say more? They all have tender hearts. There's nothing more touching than hearing all five sing along to a Christian song on the radio.
• The student who knows good grammar.
• The visit to the doctor that culminates with the comment, "You're in perfect health."
• People who say they will pray for you — and then they do it.
• The phone call, email, text or letter that says what a blessing the Western Recorder magazine has been to them.
• My wife who is my best friend and my greatest inspiration — who affirms me, compliments me and challenges me to always do my best.
• The brave men and women of our Armed Forces who help preserve our freedoms.
• A child with good manners.
• Knowing you've done the right thing, even when others may not appreciate it.
• Someone complimenting my shirt and tie combination (and my socks these days), which allows me to tell them my wife picked it all out, not me!
• Being able to find that one item I'm looking for in the grocery without having to search every aisle.
• Google. What did we do without it?
• Opportunities to make new friends.
• The person who asks for only a handshake, not a contract, to honor a commitment.
• Inspirational stories related to one's faith.
• The person with integrity and conviction.
• The person who gives because of compassion, not compulsion.
• The promises and encouragement of scripture.
• The storm that passes over and causes no damage.
• An athlete who plays for the love of the game, not for the love of money.
• People who don't take themselves too seriously.
• The person who, upon learning your age, says "you sure don't look that old."
• The person behind the counter who says "can I help you?" and really means it.
• That a bad day really isn't too bad at all.
• For every reader who takes the time to read the Western Recorder each month.