November, 2017 – Teach Me to be Thankful, Lord

November, 2017 – Teach Me to be Thankful, Lord

Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”   Ephesians 5.20

It is interesting to watch different behavioral patterns and how some people react to a given situation compared to others.  What I have learned is, that behavior knows no socio-economic boundaries.  For example –

I might as well start with myself.  I was complaining to a friend who had come to visit several years ago, that our new home wasn’t finished yet – didn’t ever know if we would ever get the interior painted, or have enough furnishings, that it was only a forty-six foot raised ranch – and on and on I went, grumbling.  But, Marianne who loved her 300 sq. ft. flat in NYC, literally went flying through the house from room to room, exclaiming how beautiful it was and how big it was – every room!  Why was not thankful for what I had?

Then, I recount the time I was listening to a couple of my older relatives complaining about everything!  When I told them that they had so much to be thankful for, they told me that they couldn’t think of one thing.  They were sitting in a beautiful summer home.  On a lake.  With more beautiful sunsets than you could imagine!  They had everything a person could desire, yet sat continuing to grumble ‘without a thing for which to be thankful’.

I have watched others ‘tear down their barns and build bigger ones’.  Like most of us they ‘needed’ more, more, more to be satisfied.  I watched a beautiful friend, Miruna and her husband in Romania in a 200 sq. ft. flat just overjoyed with their ‘little nest’, and how they had fixed it up and decorated it.  And, lovely it was.  And filled with love.

We all know situations like this.  Very rarely does one, especially in the Western Hemisphere down-size unless they really need to.  So, ashamedly, I will end up with telling another story on myself.  I entered, for the first time, the little old Communist flat I have been living in in Brasov (RO) for the past five or six years and couldn’t believe what Robert and Alina had found for me to live in.  I mean it!  I really couldn’t believe it!  It smelled. The stove’s oven didn’t work.  The kitchen sink let water go all over the floor.  The bathroom sink fell off the wall if even slightly leaned on.  Many of the outlets and light fixtures didn’t work.  The freezer on the bottom of the fridge had died.  Many of the windows didn’t open.  And so much more.  My heart sank!  Without my expressing my dissatisfaction, Robert told me that I didn’t have to stay there if I didn’t want to.  He just knew what I was thinking.  I prayed about it the best I could having not slept for many, many hours in traveling, plus jet-lag, and told Robert that even though it was the pits, I knew that this was where God wanted me.  It still took some time to be thankful for it.

I’m thankful year ‘round.  Really!  But at this designated Thanksgiving-time of year, if I started to name all of those for whom I am thankful (for the ministry, and for me, personally), I would not have enough paper to jot them all down.  If I tried to name all the ‘things’ I am thankful for – the same.  And if I tried to thank God for all the blessings He has heaped on me in my lifetime, I’m sure you would be nodding in agreement that He has done the same for you.  Finally I just want to share, though, that I am thankful for Jesus’ sacrificing His life for me – for you! – at Calvary.  There is a fifteen-stanza song, ‘Dayenu’ sung at the Jewish holiday, Passover.  ‘Dayenu’ means ‘it would have been enough’.  Even though He has done more for me than I can even remember, I would like to say, “Thank You, Jesus, for shedding Your blood for me.  It would have been enough!”