an ongoing thanksgiving

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer.” (Philippians 1:3-4, MSG)

We spent the last week looking at the spiritual aspects of Thanksgiving. It is more than just a reason to feast once a year, because gratitude should shape our posture for daily living. We are called to be generous with our lives based on our individual ability to be generous. Yes, this makes us vulnerable, because we have to put ourselves out there, but when we do so with a God-sourced enthusiasm, it transforms the giver and the gift. This transformed life is evident to all, and enables us to point people to God, so they, too, can see God is real, loves them, and has a purpose for their lives.

We have a daily reality to face, however, and that is we can find it difficult to be thankful in the literal and metaphorical dog days of summer. This time of year is different from the rest…the holiday spirit, the music, the decorations, the aromas, the cuisine, the focus on family, friends, and others. Every time we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel these things, it prompts us into action; even Ebeneezer Scrooge couldn’t stay the same when confronted with his past, present, and future in light of a life connected to others. So what do we do once things go back to “normal,” and the season seems so far away? We still need something to trigger the generosity within, reminding us what it means to live with a posture of Thanksgiving. The answer is found in today’s Bible verse.

Prayer. Prayer is our connection to God. We are called to pray to God for others, sending exclamations to the Father for the many things we have in life…even when we would not prefer them. Connectedness helps us know we are not alone, and no matter how tough things are, there are others who need the experiences we share. These are the things that can trigger us into gratitude, praying to God for help, and realizing he is using us to help others in their time of need. This is the essence of an ongoing thanksgiving, and the way God wants you to live your life, today and everyday.

May it be so.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the love you give me in which to live. I know that the sights, sounds, smells, smells, feelings, and family connections I enjoy this time of year place me in that posture of Thanksgiving. Help me to remember these feelings, and call back to them wheverever and whenever I am so I can live a life of ongoing thanksgiving. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.