On his first visit to Australia, a Texan was being shown around a vast ranch. "Why, this would be just a teensy little corner of my spread back home," he said. When his host showed him a huge herd of cattle grazing, his comment was "Purty, but they'd get lost among my herd". A kangaroo suddenly came up from behind him and leaped by. The startled Texan cried out, "What in tarnation was that??" His Aussie host smiled and asked, "You mean you don't have grasshoppers back in Texas?"
Some people have critical spirits. They look for the negative in situations and are disappointed when it doesn't come. Some are busy finding ways of one-upping others. In their heart, they are pessimistic. Sadly, it is exceedingly difficult being around such persons because one never knows what will set them off on another boorish infantile rant.
Thanksgiving calls for positive faith. It requires optimism!
I love Jerry Hilbun's story of what happened in a nursing home one Thanksgiving. The small resident population was gathered around their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which they were thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc. One little old man in his turn said "I thank the Lord for two perfectly good teeth, one in my upper jaw and one in my lower jaw that match so I can chew my food".
The Biblical record about thanksgiving is instructive. Despite-and frequently in the middle of-harsh difficult situations, the characters of the Bible give thanks. Paul counted his blessings even after countless floggings, beatings, imprisonments, being shipwrecked, betrayed, and deprived of food and drink.
Really, the Pilgrims were following in the footsteps of those characters of the Bible they knew so well. Same with calling for a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in the darkest days of the Civil War.
Some folks manage to be thankful for so little, while others seem never to find reasons to give thanks. Please count your many blessings-say thank you to those who surround your life, and those of your loved ones, with care, touch, and nurture. Say thanks to God who enfolds our lives with grace. May you and yours celebrate this upcoming Thanksgiving with abundant attitudes of gratitude. Thank you for your friendship and your involvement in ministry at ZUMC.
I'll see you this Sunday as we gather to do what it says in Psalm 95:2 - "Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!"