National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.
. . . . Until you become thankful, you will never find joy.
Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is
not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery
ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in
your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God's love. The
real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to
the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. Churches are filled
with widows who can explain this to you. We are not ultimately grateful that
we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God
even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.
Only when we see this are we able to be truly joyful, because then we have
made God our joy. We still cherish the blessings, but not because we have to
have them. We cherish them because they are our windows into heaven.
Gratitude is our ability to see the grace of God, morning by morning, no
matter what else greets us in the course of the day.
- M. Craig Barnes, HUSTLING GOD: WHY WE WORK SO HARD FOR WHAT GOD WANTS TO
GIVE, Zondervan, 1999, page 155.
[Well, that's enough to help fine-tune my Thanksgiving prayers. May the Lord
allow each of us to know the incredible magnitude of his love and blessing in
our lives. "Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for
today and bright hope for tomorrow. Great is thy faithfulness." AMEN!]
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina