Our pastor, Mark Adams, of Redland Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland, seems to have the gift of sharing a message that I feel is so right to be read by you, the listeners to enLighten. And this one, an encore posting of a Thanksgiving message from a few years ago, where he leads off talking about preparation leading up to the day, and then continues . . .
… you may be decorating your home to match the color schemes on the trees lining your street. And—as you go about all these fall activities, I’m sure that you have already begun to thank God for His many blessings.
But if we only thank God for the blessings of life our gratitude is incomplete. 1st Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This verse and others like it remind us that learning to trust God enough to thank Him for the difficulties of life is a vital part of maturing in Christ-likeness.
Complete thanksgiving includes gratitude for the tough times. It’s grounded in an understanding of God’s attributes and character. It’s embracing the conviction that God is good all the time and that He both promises—and is able—to work in and through even hardship and heartbreak for our good and His glory.
In his book, The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan writes, “In Guelph, Ontario, there’s a riverside park landmarked with large and intricate sculptures: a dinosaur, a man riding a bicycle, a child and his mother. But these are no ordinary sculptures. Each is made from the debris collected from the riverbed. Every year, the city drains the river by a system of channel locks, then invites people from the community to scour the river’s muddy floor and clean up the garbage scattered along it.
A welter of refuse is dredged up: shopping carts, tires and rims, car hoods, baby strollers, bikes and trikes, engine blocks, rakes and shovels, urinals, copper plumbing, wine bottles, shoes, and thousands of pop cans. Mountains and mountains of rust-cabbed rubbish, slick with algae, are hauled out.
Rather than truck all this garbage off to a landfill, the city calls its sculptors together (though most of the pop cans are turned in for refund and the money donated to park conservation). Each artist is given a mound of junk and commissioned to make from it beauty. The created works are then showcased along the very river from which the raw materials have come.
God does that. He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes. He takes junk and sculpts art. And the primary way we participate in that is thanksgiving. Be thankful in all things. Be thankful for all things.”
As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving—take time to add to your annual tradition the sharing of testimonies about the various ways God has taken “junk and sculpted art.” Look back over the past year and thank Him for the way He’s blessed you through the difficulties of life. As a Christ-follower strive to be thankful IN and FOR all things. © 2009 Mark A. Adams
Thanks be to our Lord for all blessings that flow …
not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year! Hallelujah!!