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THANKS FOR NOTHING (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 11/28/13)

posted Dec 9, 2013, 9:15 AM by Fccea Webmaster
During inspection a new commander stopped to ask a corporal, “How long have you been in the Marines?”  “Two years, eight months, 24 days, sir,” came the quick reply. “Do you plan on reenlisting?” “No, sir.” “So what will you do after discharge?” “Cartwheels and handstands, sir!”

The point is, it’s pretty easy to be thankful when things go our way. It’s a lot tougher when times are hard. Like this year, when the weather has not exactly been conducive to a good harvest.

Our gratitude tends to have a bit of an edge to it. Like the young lady who was complaining of leftovers at dinner one night. Dad thought it best to ask her to say grace to improve her disposition. She prayed, “Thank you for this food – again!” Sound familiar? Sometimes it’s tough not to have a grudge against God Himself.

But the Lord invites us to cultivate a thankful heart at all times. He instructs through Paul, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thess 5:18). I don’t think that’s because He’s a sadist. He just wants us to be reminded who is really in charge, and that He is always good.

Jesus modeled this for us on multiple occasions. One was the evening when he was faced with 5,000 tired and hungry men, plus women and children.  Maybe 10-12,000 in all. He had exactly 5 small barley rolls and 2 sardine-size fish with which to feed them. Panic time? For me, yes.

But “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6:11). Imagine that! Jesus gave thanks for “not enough.” It became “more than enough.”

Fanny Crosby was another real-life example. A doctor’s careless treatment left her blind from the age of six weeks. Eventually she became one of the most beloved hymn writers of all time. She claimed later that if she could have her sight restored, she would not attempt it. “I could not have written thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing all the interesting and beautiful objects that would have been presented to my notice.”

In case you think that was just the reflection of old age, here’s what she wrote at age 8:

           Oh, what a happy child I am,

           Although I cannot see!

 I am resolved that in this world

 Contented I will be.

 

How many blessings I enjoy

That other people don’t!

So weep or sigh because I’m blind,

I cannot, and I won’t!

Gratitude is fickle when it is governed by circumstances; it’s permanent when its object is a loving Father.  I hope yours is permanent.

 By His Grace, Pastor Dave

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