Thank God: For Grace
November 5, 2017 Series: Thank God
Topic: Being Grateful Scripture: Psalm 103:1–103:9, Titus 2:11–2:14
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continually. And because all things have contributed to your spiritual progress, you should include all things in your gratitude.” The words, by philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, could have come directly from scripture. Perhaps our chief purpose on earth is just this: to be thankful, to God, and to each other.
I wonder: how am I doing with that? Over the course of my life, which is the more constant feature: complaint, or praise? Judgment, or appreciation? And—how am I doing, right now? This week? What have I noticed, or failed to notice, and have I spoken, and enacted my gratitude? Remember—we live by grace. So if we’ve been neglectful or forgetful, we can get a do-over. Here are some random remembrances for things I’m truly thankful for:
- Near sunset one day this week, the sun poked through the clouds with brilliant gold and silver, so striking that it seemed to be a glimpse of God.
- Several people in stores spoke to me with real kindness and courtesy. One employee-led my granddaughter and me across the entire store to find the Borax—we were making slime and that was a key ingredient. I hadn’t thought about Borax for decades since it was a sponsor for the TV show “Death Valley Days”, hosted by Ronald Reagan in the 1950’s.
- A church member underwent surgery with faith and good cheer all the way.
- A headline offered a piece of good news on the environment. The hole in the ozone layer has shrunk dramatically, the result of international cooperation over many decades.
- We have a vital youth group under the guidance of our beloved youth director, Conner. And Ann Lamkey’s new Sunday night group for younger youth is cause for excitement in our family.
- When Pastor Matt’s dad died, our congregation responded with a beautiful outpouring of care and compassion.
- When we turn on the tap, we can get fresh, clean, drinkable water—a rare privilege in human history.
- Our family veterinarian is a skilled, caring professional, and can work magic when one of our dogs is sick.
- A spouse named Leslie brings strength and caring even in the midst of her own loss. Her mother, who passed this week, would have been 89 today.
When we take the time to remember, we realize there’s a lot. More than any material blessing, there is our faith itself: The Creator who made us and the whole universe; The Savior who gave all for us; the Holy Spirit who guides and sustains us daily. Do I remember to give thanks for the gospel itself: for the truth that will prevail; the unconditional love that never changes; the teachings that make human life livable; the hope that breaks through our darkest hours; the forgiveness that frees us from sin, guilt, and regret; the grace that always surprises? Thank you, Lord, for such precious realities.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good that comes to you.” So said Emerson. So says scripture. May the One who helps us in each moment, enable us always to be God’s grateful people.