Thursday, November 17, 2016

Giving Thanks Always to Everybody

"We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)
I am surrounded by an amazing group of people. My wife prays for, encourages and supports me. My kids are incredible and my extended family have always been there for me. I have great pastors, lifelong friends, ministry colleagues and multiple co-workers that I can depend upon. There is no way that I could be where I am in life today without being surrounded by such people. By the grace of God, this circle of family and friends sustains me and compels me to continue to move forward into all that God has called me into.

I trust that you have a similar circle around you to some extent. We are not created to live life alone and God surrounds us with just the right people at just the right time to provide the support and encouragement and prayers that we need.

If you are anything like me, I become very busy and self-preoccupied. This causes me to often forget to slow down and say thank you. If the Apostle Paul with all of his busyness was able to "give thanks to God always for [everybody]", then surely I can make time to properly appreciate the people in my life. A simple text message, a card, an email or even an old-fashioned phone call are all that I need to say thank you.

I have been blessed over many years of ministry to have people express their gratitude to me for a myriad of items. I have presided over funerals and overseen weddings. I have cried with people through times of deep grief and cheered them on through victories. Often, moments that seemed trivial to me or that I didn't even remember became times of great impact and influence on the lives of others. Every time somebody expresses a "thank you", I am humbled and reminded that God can even use a person like me to bring some light into the lives of others.

Knowing this feeling on the receiving end compels me to become a better bearer of appreciation to others.

Who do you have in your life that makes a difference? When was the last time that you told them about the impact they have made and continue to make in your life? Can you carve out some time to make a list of people who you want to appreciate and then follow through by letting them know?

Lord, thank You! Thank You for Your many blessings in my life; for providing for my family and for walking with me through storms. Thank You for Your grace, Your salvation, Your mercy. Thank You for the many individuals who make up my circle: my spouse and children, my family, my friends and pastors. Without them, I could not do life well. Help me to slow down, to appreciate and to express my gratitude to each of them. Amen!

~ Mike

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