What Are You Thankful For?
Thankfulness is on my mind these days. It all started a few weeks ago when Dr. John Beckman, our Associate Professor of Old Testament at BCS, shared a faculty devotion that was both stirring and striking. He unpacked for us his journey of thankfulness that revolved around Scripture like Ephesians 5:20 — giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 — give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ for you. Stirring and striking. Stirring because of the encouragement and fresh reminder of, as Pastor Sam Crabtree’s well-crafted title of the first chapter in his book on the topic, “the rightness of gratitude.” “It is fitting—morally appropriate”— to give thanks. Striking because of the blow Dr. Beckman’s devotion dealt my heart. Always? For Everything? In all circumstances? May the Lord grant you as much grace as I need if you struggle with pervasive thankfulness of the Scriptural sort — “Always,” “for,” and “all”
And yet, at the encouragement of Dr. Beckman and Pastor Sam, I am practicing. I am exercising to trade in the possible moments of complaint and grumbling for the opportunity to thank our good Father, to have eyes open for the moments when thankfulness should burst forth from my lips amid everything from challenging family illness to 63 degree days here in Minneapolis. So, because practice makes progress (not perfect, right?), let me take this chance to put “thankfulness in action” (another Pastor Sam exclusive!). I am thankful that on the other side of the trial that gripped our nation standing on the knife’s edge, our city is not in turmoil. I am thankful for my outstanding first-year students who have given me the pleasure of studying the Old and New Testament together over two semesters. I am thankful that summer break is on the horizon! I am thankful for you and your unceasing encouragement that many of you spend your precious time sending my way. I am thankful to be going through Hebrews together! I am thankful for our better high priest who offered a better gift on our behalf in a better location that secures a better relationship with the Father! I am thankful for my little girls who ALWAYS take their mother’s side! Always! I am thankful for my wife, who is the wind in my sails in moments of discouragement and tiredness. I am thankful that before the foundation of the world, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ predestined all in Christ for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). So now it is your turn. What are you thankful for? We have much to be grateful for and plenty of situations to be thankful in. Jubilee, let’s strive to be unceasing in our thankfulness and encourage each other to do the same.