Devotion in Motion: Be thankful for “who”, not “what”

3 ¶ I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

It’s a gorgeous Fall morning in Mississippi today. I mean, if you looked up “Autumn” in The World Book Encyclopedia, there would be a photograph of this day. The sky makes me think of a box of 64 Crayolas—specifically the “Periwinkle” and “Lavender” crayons. The changing of the leaves on the trees is amazing this year—and I had a realization that all the hues you see in the countryside at this time of year are the same ones you see in the bounty of the Thanksgiving table. It’s a privilege to be alive. My heart overflows with thankfulness.

The Apostle Paul was a man whose heart was filled with gratitude, which he often expressed in Holy Scripture. Something I’ve come to realize is that the things for which Paul expressed gratitude are different from the things we give thanks for. When Americans pray, we often thank God for the weather and the beauty of the earth. We thank God for the food and our material blessings. Primarily, we thank God for things. While it’s good to show gratitude for our physical blessings, the Apostle Paul’s gratitude takes a different track. Paul always gives thanks to God for people.

 

Now think about that for just a moment—it’s so obvious that it slaps you in the face, but we always miss it. The things in our lives are temporary.  The weather changes, and our food digests and is gone. And if something happens to the “things” in our lives, well, they can usually be replaced.  But, it is not so with people. The folks that God brings into our lives touch our hearts for all eternity. And because people are one-of-a-kind, they are not interchangeable and replaceable. It is for them that we need to offer thanksgiving to the Lord.

There are special people who have departed from this life decades ago that I still think of every day. I’m sure it is the same with you. For those special folks, let us give thanks to our Heavenly Father. But some of the most special people in our lives are still with us in the flesh. While there is still time, why not send them a card or pick up the phone to let them know your gratitude?

May the Grace of Christ and Gratitude for His Gifts be upon you and yours.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher has a deep affection and gratitude for those who read this column each week.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to jcash@scott.k12.ms.us.

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