Thanksgiving Day reminds us to be thankful. But what is at the top of your list? Many good things can be there. And I want to challenge you to think a little differently about the things that go at the top of your I am thankful for… list. Ready?
Thanksgiving Day Challenge
OK, a few of you are thankful that Black Friday is tomorrow. I don’t understand that one, but I know it’s out there. Some of you are anxious to get a good deal on computers, laptops, cameras, televisions, or power tools. So if that’s you, let me challenge you to do two things. First, see the rest of this post. Second, hit the links above to begin your shopping. It won’t cost you more and 2-3% of your Amazon purchases will be sent to support this ministry.
What about traditional items for Thanksgiving Day? It is good for us to be thankful for:
- Our children
- Opportunities to serve
- Our Church families
- Material blessings we enjoy
- The GIVER of every good and perfect gift
These great things should be on our I am thankful for… lists. But is there something we typically leave off that list? I think there is and maybe today is the day to include it.
Think back to the book of Genesis. Do you recall the life of Joseph? Move forward to the New Testament. Think though the life of Paul. Both of these men faced many challenges. Both of them saw their challenges as something very good. It doesn’t mean their difficulties were easy to endure. But they recognized that God uses our difficulties to accomplish His purposes in our lives.
I had a challenge with our last mission team. One of the pastors we teach asked to speak to me during a class break. It was important to him that we separated ourselves from the other pastors to have this discussion. We walked several yards from the church building then stopped to chat. I was not prepared for what he had to say.
He handed me a small brown envelope. As he did so he explained that the congregation he served was very, very grateful for the work we do. They recognize that it has impacted them in a positive way. Their response was to take an offering to support the work we do. I had a challenge on my hands!
Since Scripture tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive, I could not refuse the gift he wanted to give. When or if we are unwilling (too proud) to receive then we rob others of the blessing of giving. And there’s more to this.
Scripture has a great deal to say about supporting Kingdom work. The desire expressed by this young pastor was for their congregation to have a part in the work we do. You have a part in it if you pray and/or give. Our Father rewards our involvement. It’s one of the ways we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. And that brings us to the treasures for which we are thankful.
Thanksgiving Day: Treasures
Too many of us are focused on putting treasure under the tree. That treasure is OK as long as it is in it’s proper place and perspective. James told us:
Count in all joy when you encounter various trials.
The challenges we face (trials) are for the testing of our faith. And when our faith is tried and proved, Peter tells us it is more precious than gold. And this is something for which we should be most grateful.
So the Thanksgiving Day Challenge is to move your trials to the top of your I am thankful for... list.
And rest assured God can use your trial to bless others. That offering given by the young pastor was passed along to others. It was hard not to protest and allow him to give. But having received the gift, it was only a day or so until I was asked by another pastor to meet a need for their congregation. He had no idea where the funds came from. But we passed the offering (and a little more!) along to meet his needs.
I am thankful for people who understand Kingdom giving. God is at work in it all. It allows us to touch many lives for God’s glory. Thanks for being part of it. Now, go celebrate your challenges! God can and will use them in you and in others.
Soli Deo Gloria!