November 17, 2017
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Please go back and read those again. I will wait right here. Say them quietly, in your heart. Say them out loud. Stress the underlined words. Now stress the italicized words. Now stress the bold words. Really, there is a reason for doing this. Before I start talking, ask God to reveal to you what He wants you to learn.
In the Good News Club that I teach in the schools I have been teaching through the series of Moses. Then, I took a short step out of Moses to teach a Thanksgiving lesson. Then, God let me learn one during Thanksgiving week. Life is a lesson in giving thanks.
Have you ever thought about how much the Israelites grumbled because they didn’t like what was happening to them in their lives? they wanted things better when they were slaves and then, while God was leading them through the wilderness to get to the promised land (wouldn’t it be great if deliverance just happened? No wilderness travels??) they grumbled because it was so much better when they had garlic and cucumbers (they forgot about the beatings and the toiling for the task masters). Whatever they had, no matter where they were, they grumbled. They moaned. They muttered. They griped. They complained. They were never satisfied.
Please, humor me, scroll up and read those verses again. In everything give thanks …
Thanksgiving week for me was a lesson in this…and I thought about it and had to correct myself over and over….
My supervisor changed my schedule. I was working Friday & Saturday nights. She changed me to Saturday and Sunday days, which is good, except the girl who was supposed to not be driving anymore is driving until the end of this month. So, there is an abundance of drivers on the weekends, which means that I – being the new day girl – had far less calls. I worked 27 hours in 2 days and made $70. I muttered. I grumbled. I griped and I complained. God said, “You did make money. Do I not provide all your needs? Give thanks.”
My family all live someplace else so I told my co-drivers that I would work for anyone who wanted to spend time with their family. I looked at the schedule and saw that I was put on Thanksgiving (good) but a dispatcher was put on as a driver for Wednesday (not good!). I was mad! Wednesday is traditionally a very busy day for cab drivers and restaurants, Thanksgiving Day?? Not so good. The drivers on Wednesday made between $300 and $500. I made a little over $100 on Thursday. I grumbled. I complained. I moaned. I muttered. And I griped. And God said, “Don’t I provide all your needs? You need the rest. Give thanks for what you have.”
On Saturday, I was robbed. The guy got $160 from me, so instead of taking home over $200, after lease I cleared only $60. I grumbled. (A lot) I cried. (A lot) And I was definitely not thankful. And God said, “You are alive. Give thanks. Vengence is mine, I will repay.”
In everything give thanks…it is SOOOOOoooo hard to give thanks when everything feels as if it is going wrong. When I am not comfortable. When I don’t like what is happening. But grumbling and complaining are ways of saying that God doesn’t love us, and doesn’t have our best in mind when He allows thigs to happen. “We know that all things work together for the good, to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose.”
According to His purpose – God has a reason for every single thing He allows into our lives. We may not see that reason on this side of Heaven, but He wants us to give thanks. To have a spirit of thankfulness. Not because we like it, but because Jesus endured the cross, even though He despised the shame — because eternity was waiting. Our attitudes effect our whole lives and those lives around us. A grumbling spirit brings people down, a thankful spirit draws people to us, and ultimately to God.
Can you do it? Can I? Can we have a thankful heart today and all this week?
Father, thank You. Thank You first for Jesus. Thank You that in spite of me You love me. How amazing it is to know that it’s not because of me, but because of You. Thank You that you remind me to give thanks. Thank You for another day and another chance. Help me, this day, to be thankful. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen