I was at a gathering last night for an entirely new church concept, and had been asked to share a few words about Thanksgiving. Here’s a portion of what I wrote:
This is the time of year when we take time to be thankful. We’re thankful for our family, our friends, our health, and things like Starbucks in the red cup.
But you know, the Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God…” I don’t know about you, but does it seem weird to have the words “anxious” and “thanksgiving” together in the same sentence? Is it really possible to be anxious about something and be thankful at the same time?
Maybe. I’ll give it a try.
I’m thankful to have a car. Thank you God, for my car. Even though at one point last year gas WAS like 3.39 a gallon… Thank you. That was stressful. But thanks! Oh, and the time I had to have the brakes done. For $400! Talk about anxious…Thanks a lot!
Thank you for a house to live in. And… thanks especially for the toilet that overflowed. Yes, thanks for that. But I do thank you for the plumber who came and fixed it. You know, the one who charged me TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY DOLLARS to fix it. Thanks a lot – for that. Yeah… SO grateful.
Um, okay… so that was harder than I thought. But you know what? Thankfulness is really about remembering. I just remembered those things from last year. They really happened to me.
I also have to remember that the week before I took my car in for brakes, I got a check that for some reason was about $400 higher than I expected. I can see that God already knew what was coming.
I have to remember that after the plumber left, I got a check in the mail the next day for $247 dollars. And I know that God is even paying attention to my frustrating inconveniences.
And I especially remember the mysterious box that appeared outside my front door, no return address, containing $400 in anonymous gift cards. Gift cards that let me put gas in my car so I could travel around to my freelance jobs. I realize that my “anxious” circumstances are just BIG opportunities for God to work in surprising ways. He’s all dramatic that way.
He’s working all the time, even in car repairs and overflowing toilets. I just tend to forget. And being thankful is all about remembering.
George Herbert, a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who lived in the early 1600’s, said it best: “Thou that hast given so much to me, grant one thing more–a grateful heart.”