This past Sunday I encouraged our congregation to begin to list the things for which they are thankful. We have had it so good for so long in America that many have forgotten how blessed they really are. Yes, some might have more than others, but even those with little have far more than many people throughout the world. If you have food to eat, clean water to drink, and family and friends who love you, you are blessed.
As we approach Thanksgiving Day I have thought about some of the things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful to God for loving me enough that He sent His only begotten Son to die for my sins. I am thankful that He has extended His grace towards me, forgiven me of my sins, and adopted me into His family.
I am thankful for my family. I had parents who loved me enough to discipline me and teach me right and wrong. Fifty years ago I married a wonderful girl who has continued to show me unconditional love and is my best friend. We have two children who have been a blessing to me in every way, and we have seven grandchildren who are a joy and delight.
I am thankful for good health. Yes, I have some health challenges as most people have as they get older, but they are minor. There are many much younger than me who have much more critical health issues.
I am thankful to serve a wonderful church, Madison FBC, as their Transitional Pastor. This is an incredible church with great people committed to ministering to this community and around the world. It is a privilege to serve them in this capacity while they seek their next pastor.
I am thankful for the opportunities God has given me. Growing up on dairy farms in southern Indiana I never dreamed I would serve as the pastor of a church for 20 years, serve in judicatory ministry for 14 years, publish books related to ministry, be invited to speak to numerous denominational groups throughout the United States and Canada, and now continue my ministry even after I "retired."
I am thankful that God has brought us through many valleys in our lives. I've enjoyed many mountaintop experiences, but I've also known deep valleys. In every instance God proved Himself faithful bringing us through every one. Jesus has proven over and over again that he will never leave us nor forsake us.
I am thankful that when my race here on earth is done I have the promise of eternal life with Him. My last breath on earth will be my first in eternity where I will be reunited with many loved ones who have gone on before. Why anyone would reject Jesus Christ and the eternal life He offers is beyond me.
I am thankful for the many freedoms I enjoy as a citizen of the United States of America. There are many people around the world who can only dream of the freedoms that many of us take for granted. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served in the US Navy to help protect those freedoms for all who call this nation home.
I am thankful for the friends I've made along the way. It has been said that if a man has 2-3 really close friends he is fortunate. Well, I am beyond fortunate as I have far more than that. I have friends who have stood by me in good times and bad, friends who would literally do anything to help me in a time of need, friends who can laugh with me in the good times and cry with me in the bad times.
This list could go on and on. I am indeed a blessed individual who has much for which to be thankful. Thursday will be much more than a day to eat turkey and watch football games. Our family will gather and do that, but we will also celebrate the many things for which we are thankful. I pray you and your family will as well.