Last Thanksgiving I gave this sermon (you can listen on line) and I thought I would share some thoughts that still resonate with me…even though it’s a year later. Thanksgiving is such a powerful opportunity for us to express our gratitude in as many ways as possible. Can I encourage you to do so? Take every opportunity to give thanks…it will add so much to your life.
Are You Game?
You know, thankfulness doesn’t come naturally…listen to this quote by Eric Hoffer.
“The hardest math to master is the one that enables us to count our blessings.”
So, of course God wants me to share about being thankful with you all…not because I finally understand it but because of what He is still teaching me about it. He is teaching me is by taking me down memory lane. You know what I discovered? Gratefulness is the memory muscle of the heart. How we exercise our memories can help us remember things to be grateful for.
Are you Game? …Its another way of saying are you in, are you ready?
To help explain this wacky title I need to share a story….about game.
Growing up I was exposed to rare culinary…uhm, treats. Since we were quite poor, my father would hunt for meat, for small game, deer, whatever he could shoot. One of the more common entrées was the fuzzy gray speed bump known as “the squirrel”. My father hunted them often, which never seemed much of a challenge to me. Our cat seemed to have no problem catching one in our backyard. However, my father would come back from hunting with a few and act like it was from some dangerous safari expedition. Complete with tall tales of stalking his prey, militant squirrels and the like. The cat would just drop one at the front door and be done with it, all the while looking at my father with pity. No, eating them would prove to be a far greater challenge.
Squirrel graced our table frequently, and there might be a way to cook squirrel and have it taste good, but my mom did not know that way. My mom was a horrible cook, how bad you say? She had a hard time with making toast. She would make squirrel stew an adventure in eating. The stew took on the characteristics of the squirrel itself…it would turn grey, all except for the peas, which I hate.
I remember one Thanksgiving when I was around eight years old, there was no money for anything close to a traditional turkey feast, and we were going to have to eat whatever was still frozen in our freezer for our meal. Fresh squirrel stew is one thing, squirrel stew that has been frozen for months is ungodly! Believe it or not, squirrel stew does not age well, but that is all we had.
There was a knock at the door and when my mom answered, there was a man carrying a huge box. We let him in and he placed the box on our dining room table. Wishing us a happy Thanksgiving, he left as soon as he came. Inside the box were all the fixings for a hearty meal, including an already cooked turkey. I never did learn where that man came from, but I was so thankful he came that night.
Believe it or not, I look back at those times with fondness, (now that the squirrel stew nightmares have ended). They are memories of the faithfulness of our Father’s care. I really don’t remember the taste of squirrel, (someone say Hallelujah!), but I recall the provision He made for us during those times.
Those memories have taught me that, whatever our state, whatever our position, we need to be thankful to our God.
There is a need to be thankful and it answers God’s will for us.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
True thankfulness is not ignoring the struggles; and the pain and fear that haunt us at times.
So, I don’t have “Seven Keys to true thankfulness” or “3 Steps to be truly grateful” to share with you today, although I wish it was that neat and tidy…but it’s not. Life is not. Life is hard and difficult; it challenges us on a daily basis. Worry, doubt, fear and disappointments, they claw at us don’t they? Life messes with us, with our faith and our peace of mind. However, in the middle of strife and struggle, thankfulness can change us, not our circumstances, us.
So God asks me…are you game? Are you ready?
Are you ready to be grateful?
I’m a bit confused, so I ask…I have to be ready…to be grateful?
More next time….