In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV)
When was the last time that you stopped and did a written “Thanks Inventory?” I believe that we should make it a practice much more regularly than is typical. If you just pause for a few minutes and put pen to paper, you will begin to see that it is easy to take many, many things for granted! Here is my most current listing:
First, I think my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me an opportunity to be a Christian! I am blessed in my pursuit to become more like Him–heart, mind, soul, and strength–every day! I choose to be an Apostolic, Pentecostal, pre-denominational Christian and I am consequently overwhelmingly blessed! I have never regretted that–being a free moral agent–I made such a choice to repent and be baptized! Just as the promise says in Acts 2:38, I was filled with the Holy Ghost. I am thankful that Christ grows sweeter as the days go by! I love You, Jesus!
Second, my unabashed and total gratitude is for the soul who makes me and my life complete, my wife! God has placed in my world the presence of a lady who is as beautiful inside as she is out. Her tender heart and her wise mind, to say nothing of her radiant beauty and poised charm, make her the greatest gift that God has given me on this earth. I love you, LaRonda!
Third, my heart overflows with a lavish flood of thanks for my kids. Already grown and nearly 21, I thank the Lord for my oldest son, Don. His artistic musical talents, combined with his sensitive spirit toward all things holy, make him a young man who has untold and unfathomable blessings that he is rendering to the glory of his God and for the blessing of his family, friends, and congregation. Jared, age 17, is responding in the very striking and bold affirmative to the call of God on his life to be a spiritual servant in everything he does. Jared continues to bring refreshing to his family and his church by his prayers, words, and example. DeLana, age 12, is daddy’s girl! Breathlessly growing altogether too quickly (in my opinion!), she is emerging into a beautiful young lady who exhibits a tender heart in the altar, in her prayers, and toward the Lord. My primary gratitude for my children centers around the fact that they all know how to pray! There is nothing more critical to teach our children than the practice of daily, face-to-face prayer in communion with their Lord and Savior! Thank God, my children pray. I love you, Don 3, Jared, & DeLana!
Fourth, my mind turns to the blessing of friends. Life without deep and lasting friendships is a lonely place. When it comes time to rejoice, seek understanding, or express a heartfelt need, there is no one like a friend to trust in and call upon. In recent days, I have been blessed to interact verbally, textually, and/or electronically, with dozens of friends, both ministerially and socially. I would like to say, “Thank you, Jesus, for the hundreds of new friends that you have brought our way by bringing them into the fellowship of the CAC congregation and the many LIFE Groups which are reaching communities in unprecedented measures these days!” I love you, friends!
Fifth, I render my heartfelt gratitude for the calling placed upon my life by Almighty God to be a Pastor. As a worker in the kingdom, a laborer in the harvest together with God, an overseer of His Flock, I find myself unworthy in and of myself of such a high and holy calling. It brings tears of joy to my eyes and pangs of reverence to my heart when I consider God’s appointment to the office of Pastor. Never humanly achieved, it is totally, unequivocally, God’s business to and for which He calls His under-shepherds. I humbly and gratefully say to the pastor who founded CAC in 1956, my father, Elder Haymon, thank you for the firm foundation! To the CAC congregation I am privileged to serve, thank you for following me as I prayerfully work to follow Christ. I love each and every one of you!
My inventory of gratitude could continue indefinitely! Only due to the constraints of space must I conclude with only the aforementioned five areas of thanksgiving. Now, I heartily challenge you, dear reader, during this wonderful week in which we celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving, to take 20 minutes and jot down a few of your own current areas of gratitude. It’s the best way to truly obey and enjoy 1 Thessalonians 5:18!