A happy Thanksgiving Day to all who happen to find their way here over this American holiday. It is nice to have a national holiday every once in a while that we can actually celebrate–all the more when it is one for which the motivating spirit is so godly (even if its more modern spirit is more carnal).
I hope we all take some time from now and the end of the week to thank God perhaps a little more than we all hopefully already do.
I am thankful. I am thankful for the shed blood of Jesus Christ that has allowed me to be forgiven of my sins and for the fact that same Jesus Christ is willing to continue to humble Himself and to live in such an unworthy person as I am. I am thankful that I have been able to come to know Him and His Father–now my Father, as well–to the extent I have in my life and that I can continue to get to know them better, knowing that there is still so much to learn about Them.
I am thankful for the amazing wife with which I have been blessed. Such a simple sentence seems so inadequate to express just how thankful I am, but perhaps a simple statement of the fact will be more adequate than a longer one would. I am thankful for our beautiful and remarkable children. My wife and children may deserve a far better husband and dad, but I am so thankful that I am the one who has the job. While it is within my power, I am giving it up for no one. I am thankful, too, for the health we have all enjoyed for so long, knowing that in this life such a state is not a given.
I am thankful, too, that my wife’s father and mother are able to live here with us, as they are my father and mother, also. It is a privilege and a joy to have them so near and so accessible.
I am thankful for my family members who live outside of these walls where I sit typing. That certainly includes my fantastic sister and brother-in-law and their kiddos, as well as my beautiful sisters-in-law and their husbands and children, and it includes the rest of my wife’s side of the family who I am so thankful to be able to count as my own family. But it also includes my family in the Body of Christ–the additional brothers and sisters that Christ, true to His word, has provided for me over the years. My incredible congregations now, the congregations I’ve been able to serve before coming here, the many I have met over the years at various Feast sites and conferences, those who I spiritually “grew up” with in Dallas and Waco… Some are here in the states, some are far away in other lands. But I am so thankful for them all. There are too many special people to name individually–some of whom would be so embarrassed that I wouldn’t dare list them anyway–but I am thankful to have them in my family and humbled to know that they consider me a part of theirs.
I am thankful for the Church, itself, and for a Body of Christ that allows me to actually see Christ’s presence and action in the world and in the lives of God’s people. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had on the telecast and on the Council of Elders to see “behind the scenes” in the Work and the Government of God and to find that it is just what I had always prayed it would be. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to see God’s hand at work in the men and women at our headquarters and to be reminded that God truly does work through human beings and that every effort counts, no matter how small it may seem, so long as it is done with a selfless and loving heart. I am thankful for Mr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail, and Mr. Wakefield, and for all of those they lovingly lead in Charlotte. I am thankful for Mr. Weston, Mr. King, Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Tyler, and all those who strive to serve the Body of Christ no matter where its members may be located. I am thankful for Mr. Greer, who serves me as my regional pastor, and for Mr. Millich, who served as my regional pastor before and as my teacher and mentor. I am thankful for the lives of Mr. Ogwyn and Mr. David Burson, which, even so long after their deaths, continue to impact me and affect who I am and who I want to be. I am thankful for Messrs. West & West, Mr. Sena, Messrs. McNair & McNair, Mr. Ciesielka, Mr. Robinson and those others whose examples, along with so many at the “top,” mean so much to me–inspiring me, spurring me, and chastising me at the same time.
And I am thankful that my usual, goofy fear of forgetting in my haste something important or someone important–which I surely have done–has not prevented me this year from giving some sort of voice to my thanks here on this blog. I know that this brief list of things for which I am thankful is so pitifully short compared to all I have to be truly thankful for. But I also know that it still needs to be said from time to time. My life reminds me of the sentiment expressed in Jeremiah 33:9 — “Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.” God has provided so much for me of which I deserve so little, if anything at all. And it does cause me to fear and tremble a little. Probably not as much as it should where I allowed to see the whole of it, but I see enough. And it is as God describes it: Terrifyingly wonderful. His mercy truly does endure forever.
(And by the way: I don’t mean to boast about any sort of special humility by saying how little I deserve the shower of blessings I have received. I know you don’t deserve your blessings either. 🙂 More than that, so many of you are examples to me of real humility. Thank you for that.)
In this land that has been so blessed, not due to its own greatness but due to the faithfulness of Abraham, may your Thanksgiving be a meaningful one.