I have discovered that I really do NEED the Thanksgiving holiday. It is regretable that I should need what amounts to being a secular, national holiday, which albeit has its origins coming from a deeply spirital backdrop, to remind me to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for. I guess that as a person who naturally looks for problems to fix, I tend to be cynical and I acknowledge that some might perceive that “talent” to manifest itself as being mean or grumpy. I don’t think I actually am, but concede it could appear that way.
In spite of appearances, I am grateful for all the things that so many people, American in particular, are thankful for. I have a great family and friends, I have great health. I worship at a church that many people might be shocked to find out is among the most alive in the Lord of any I have been a part of. It has a pastor who is serious about the expository proclamation of God’s word and he does so with great skill. The fact that he has been assigned to the church in our little unincorporated town is a miracle.
I am thankful for the opportunities God has provided for me to teach from His word both at church and the camp for which I sit on the Board of Directors. And as is the case with so many in “western” civilization, I have been blessed with material things beyond what I deserve or need. I am grateful for all of these.
But above all else, I am thankful for a patient God. And I mean that in two very distinct ways. First, God is patient with me. I am certain, beyond any doubt, that I was blessed to be counted among God’s elect and saved according to the purpose of His will. Having been adopted, I am grateful for God’s patience with my stubbornness to conform to the image of His son. While I can see the great expanse that represents where I am now and where I have come from, I am keenly aware of how much more work there is to do.
I am also thankful for a patient God, who is not slow, as some think, to keep His promise and dispatch His son to return and claim His bride, the church. Instead, I think He is patient with those of us who have been entrusted with the Gospel who still have work to be done in the area of proclaiming it, so that others who have been predestined to salvation might hear the good news of redemption in Jesus Christ. While some might assume God is being patient with the unsaved (and in a sense He is), I prefer to think that it is His already adopted children, who have been commissioned to make disciples, that he is being patient with. That is a point of view that creates a greater sense of urgency.
I need that. Do you?
“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
(References: Ephesians 1: 5; Romans 6: 19; 2 Peter 3: 9; Ephesian 2: 10; Romans 10: 17; Matt 28: 18-20; Revelation 22: 20.)