I was blessed to hear a young man express his gratitude for God this week. His prayer of thanksgiving included appreciation for God's faithfulness in the midst of trials in his life. It was a sweet, genuine utterance of praise, and I felt honored to hear it.
This past Monday I gathered with a group of men for a Thanksgiving meal and worship time. It's a group I led for several years and handed off to leaders I was privileged to mentor.
It's a diverse mix of guys, men of all ages that include various social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. It was the same night the grand jury decision was announced in Ferguson, MO. While we gave thanks and fellowshipped in unity, a riotous mob was united in a very different way.
Thankful but concerned
I am thankful for many people and blessings in my life this Thanksgiving Day. I love my family—my wife, children and grandchildren—and our many friends spread over the nation and the world.
I'm also concerned about the divide in our nation. A divide that includes race, religion, politics, and economics. It's a unity based on discontent, resentment, and prejudice. I hate it.
The young man who prayed is black. He and his brother are the fruit of an evangelistic outreach from the church I've been connected to for nearly a decade. The outreach is led by an enthusiastic white brother from up north. He is small of stature, but big and bold in faith.
As we prayed, sang songs, and expressed our worship and gratitude, I was aware of the diversity of the group. It was led by a Puerto Rican brother, while the meal was coordinated by another hispanic brother whose a retired Navy commander. Both are good friends of mine.
Brothers of different nationalities filled the room from Nigeria, Haiti, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, oh yeah, and some guys in a Christian biker ministry, and others who might be seen as red-necks. I saw familiar faces and new faces, and I saw diversity.
The faces of heaven
I love diversity! I look forward to the worship revealed in the Book of Revelation–
And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Rev 5:9-10
I love churches where diversity is present. It's a taste of what I expect in heaven. It reflects the love of my Savior—a savior for all people—all ethnic groups throughout the world.
I long for the day we (believers) will see Jesus face to face. Until that day, I choose to be thankful. I'll choose to let my thankfulness transcend what concerns me.
More than 40 years ago I chose to trust in Jesus and entrusted all my life to Him. I have every reason to continue trusting Him for all things.
What about you? Who do you trust in?
If it's anyone but Jesus, you'll be disappointed, probably sooner than later.
Who are you thankful for this day and everyday?
Know that the Lord is God.It is he who made us, and we are his;we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:3-5 NIV
Who and what are the blessings in your life?
Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise.
Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. Phil 4:8 NCV
Next week the study in Proverbs will return, thanks for reading & Happy Thanksgiving!