How do we say, “thank you”?
It’s November now and soon our Facebook feeds will be filled with ye ol’ Thankful Challenge. A challenge where every day this month, we are supposed to tell the world what we are thankful for. Some can be a bit superficial like, “I am thankful for this pumpkin spice latte that, like, literally saved my life today on my way to class! #basic” and so on. Or they could be cliché with “I am thankful for my family” yada yada yada…
I see nothing wrong with this challenge! I love it! In general, every one of our lives could use a reminder of just how good we have it. If you are reading this post- guess what? – you’ve got it better than many. We need to remember all the blessings in our life – a home, internet, a phone, a family, health, job. What about specifics? Your car – big TV? Heating and blankets?
How about instead, we are thankful for the things that really make a difference in our lives? I’d say it is a safe bet we can all be thankful for Jesus Christ. He moved us from death to life. He gave us breath and purpose. He gave HIS life for OURS. Seems like a pretty big ‘thank you’ is in order.
But I want to remind us of something that sometimes we forget to be thankful for -especially during times of change and hardships. I will be very blunt about this, so we aren’t confused about what I am really meaning:
We need to be thankful for our church.
Notice the little “c” not big “C”. We should be thankful for our local church. I say this not only to our congregation and to whomever may be reading this online (as this can apply to YOUR church), but also to our leadership in the church. In the middle of all the turmoil and pain that can come along in church life, our church should be an encouragement.
Jesus never said being a Christian would be easy. He never said that growing the church will be a breeze. Some seasons, as a pastor or leader, it feels like we are being hunted like the apostles of old. Complaints, heartache, weariness – we should still be thankful. Thankful that Jesus has called us to do His work. There is no greater joy than doing Kingdom work. We need to be thankful for that.
But what if only 3 people volunteered to work this project? Let’s be thankful that we have 3.
But what if they sing songs I don’t like? Let’s be thankful that we can still sing praise to God period.
But what if we only filled half the sanctuary on Sunday? Let’s be thankful that the other half were there to worship Jesus.
As children, we probably heard something along these lines- “But Billy got more candy than me!” When we start comparing our lives to what others have, or even more dangerous, what we used to have, we can become discontented. But Jesus calls us to have JOY. Not happiness, but joy. Joy means despite the bad, I will find peace in what I do have. Church reminds us of what is really important and what really matters.
So here is my challenge to you:
As often as you can, thank someone serving in your church. Notice the greeter holding the door as you come in. Notice the praise team (not just the leader) for sacrificing every Sunday morning to come and lead us in worship. Stop and thank them. Notice the pastor for more than just his message on Sunday morning. As we thank others, not only does it create a Joyful atmosphere around you, but it is a real reminder of what YOU have, to be thankful for.
So as the old song goes, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.”