Twenty years ago, I realized it was about time that I quit making excuses for not being involved in church. I told myself that if anyone asked me to volunteer, I would say “yes.” (Notice that I didn’t start out by actually volunteering for anything.) I told our family we were going to give thanks at every meal, and we would no longer skip church.
Not exactly a great commitment.
But then one thing led to another. I said “yes” to teaching adult bible study; “yes” to being a deacon; and “yes” to being a guest preacher. Then Jana became a certified Christian Educator. Both our sons became serious about their faith; today one is a minister and the other is in seminary. I’ve been a minister now for over ten years.
Giving thanks was life changing.
Most of us had parents who taught us to say, “thank you” when someone did something nice for us. But the Christian faith teaches us to give thanks in all things.
Jesus gave thanks at his Last Supper, knowing he was about to be betrayed. But was only through Jesus’ betrayal and death that the world received the ultimate blessing of resurrection life.
Most polite people know to give thanks after some blessing comes into their life.
But for a follower of Jesus Christ, giving thanks precedes the blessing.
Giving thanks gives us an awareness of the blessings all around us. This Sunday, I’m starting a sermon series on gratitude inspired by Ann Voskamp’s powerful little book, One Thousand Gifts. Starting on September 8th, I’ll be doing a five-week study of the book during the Sunday school hour. Voskamp, a farmer’s wife in Canada, worked through personal tragedies to be able to see God’s blessings in all parts of life. I invite you to join me.