Never-ending list

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Even though years are different, and this one has been a doozy, there are many things for which I am thankful.

I am thankful that God is the most constant Being of all. His love is unfailing as the psalmist puts it. His knowledge and power are all-encompassing and perfect. His patience with us is gentle and long. When I read John 3:16, I find the thought almost unbelievable, except that I have experienced His love firsthand. Thank you, Lord.

I am thankful that God called me to be a pastor and put me to work right in the midst of some of the most wonderful people on earth.

Not only did God call me, but He equipped me. I have a great love for fried chicken and banana pudding; how’s that for being equipped?

And speaking of fried chicken, I am thankful for those precious ones who take the time to pan fry the chicken. Most of the time that means that they have cut a whole chicken into nine pieces and my favorite piece, the pulley bone, is available if I get close to the front of the line. So, I make certain that I say the blessing right next to the plates.

I am thankful for biscuits and tomato gravy, made behind the frying of country steak. No one makes it better than my parents, and I hope to get some this Wednesday night as all of our family returns to the roost over on Stagecoach Road in Mitchell County. I pray that everyone is there.

I am thankful for faithful shopping carts. What’s a righteous and faithful shopping cart? It’s one patterned after Proverbs 4:27. “Do not swerve to the right or the left.” I also appreciate a shopping cart that doesn’t have that little bump in one of the wheels. It doesn’t take much to satisfy me.

For instance, I am thankful that I was born a man. Not for superiority’s sake, but for the fact that it is the only and best excuse I can come up with to explain why I do the things I do.

And I am glad and thankful that I am married to the hardest working woman I know. Truly, my work is from sun to sun, but Donna Sue’s work is never done. She has to put up with me and she does it so lovingly.

Thank you Lord for that midday nap. It might sound infantile to you, but I get pretty grumpy without it. It’s better for the whole world if it goes off without a hitch.

Same for a good night’s rest. I am thankful that when I lay my head on that pillow at night, most of the time I go right to sleep. I know too many people who have a hard time sleeping at night. I don’t take for granted a good night’s rest.

At the same time, there are those occasional nights when the Lord brings to my attention people and situations. They prevent me from that blessed rest. Sometimes it’s because I haven’t seen them in a while or it might have been that they looked sad or depressed when I did see them.

When that happens, I pray for them and commit to seeing them as soon as possible. More often than not, that’s the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that God trusts me with that need and when I am faithful to God’s prompting, there is joy and peace. Then, usually the next night, I sleep very well.

I am thankful that there are people who inspire me as they handle their difficulties. God has blessed me with good health, and for that, I am grateful. But not everyone has it so good. There are great challenges these days with health, and I am thankful when I visit that person who lifts me when I should be lifting them.

Born is the U.S.A. is not just a song to me; it’s a blessing. Think of Iraq or Afghanistan or Zimbabwe. All around the world there is strife and, even in this country, we have many uncertainties. Yet, most of that world sets this country on a pedestal for its freedom and its prosperity.

We are challenged now as never in my lifetime and it’s going to get tough. Still, you couldn’t melt me down and pour me on one of those other places in the world.

I’m glad and thankful to call this country my home. To think that this November, we changed an entire administration for another. You might not have agreed with the change, but it happened in a peaceful manner and without violence. That’s a great reason for thanksgiving.

Now, real quickly. I am thankful for a warm or cool house depending on the season. I have a reliable car and plenty of clothes to wear. I have a job I like and many friends. Most of the time I have plenty of sense. I can read and write. I enjoy good books, especially those classics that I did not read earlier in life. I am thankful for good, old movies because they’re not making any good, new movies.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful this year, even though the year seems to be ending with great uncertainty. That might bring some angst, but let me remind you that these things remain—faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

And finally, let me thank you readers. I have been blessed many times as you have come up to me and spoken kind words of how you read these weekly words and how you enjoy them. I can assure you, I am thankful for you and it is truly my pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!