Several years ago the church where I was serving had a beloved member who had just moved into a retirement residence. He was a veteran of World War II and had lived a long, vibrant life, but this likely was his last move. As we talked, I looked around his small room. His only possession, aside from a few clothes, was a shadow box of his military medals.

And one of the medals was missing.

That was the first time I had that kind of experience, but it wasn’t the last. As we get older, it gets harder and harder to keep track of our stuff. We downsize, and then downsize again, and again.

Actor Denzel Washington, speaking last year to the graduating class at Dillard University, said, “You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”

Denzel Washington, the son of a minister, is a committed Christian who has considered becoming a preacher. He told the Dillard graduates to thank God every day.

“Put your slippers under your bed so you have to get down on your knees to find them. While you’re [on your knees], say thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say thank you in advance for what is already yours.”

The reason to give thanks every day is that a life lived in gratitude is by far the best way to live. Eventually we’re going to part with everything we’ve ever owned. Yet the source of the gifts remains.

And He promised never to part with us.

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