First Thessalonian 5:17 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Many pastors might struggle to preach on this passage, as they tell me their churches are full of people who gripe about the most meaningless problems. So, just for those folks, and just in time for Thanksgiving, with apologies to David Letterman . . .
Direct from the home office in Irving, Texas, it’s today’s TOP TEN LIST! Today’s category: “Times You Don’t Have to Say, ‘Thank You’.”
#10. When the sacker at the grocery store carefully places your eggs, bread, and bananas in one sack, then throws your 22 lb., frozen turkey right on top.
#9. When your wife wakes you from a deep sleep at two in the morning and says, “I was afraid all that snoring might hurt your throat!”
#8. When your daughter’s new, tattooed, eyebrow-pierced boyfriend finishes scarfing down your carefully prepared, gourmet Thanksgiving dinner and says, “Dude, the only thing a Happy Meal has over this grub is the prize, unless we count your daughter–BURP!”
#7. When your mother-in-law buys you a dress for Christmas, and you discover it’s three sizes larger than what you’ve repeatedly told her you wear.
#6. The first time your wife offers you sunscreen for the top of your head.
#5. Turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey spaghetti, turkey omelets, turkey pancakes, turkey ice cream, turkey anything.
#4. Remember that dress in #7? It fits.
#3. After a doctor’s exam involving something you wouldn’t even show your own mother.
#2. When your neighbors’ three-year-old offers you a sticky, unidentifiable substance from the tip of his index finger.
#1. And the Number One Time you don’t have to say, “thank you”? Three words, just for the kids: Underwear for Christmas!
Seriously, I could find lots of things to not be thankful for: personal and familial, local church and church universal, politics at home and worldwide, poverty and ecology. You, too?
Nevertheless, I can’t help but marvel at the many people I’ve met in churches who embody the attitude of being “thankful in everything.” Do you know such people?
- Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, a grandfather shares the joy of leading his oncology nurse to the Lord.
- A family living on the edge of poverty gives thanks that they were able to help a neighbor with some food—even though that food was intended to be the family’s meal for the next day.
- The son of a murdered lady says the violence has shaken his neighborhood to the depths of their souls and is making a difference, and he’s thankful that his mother’s death has meaning.
- A congregation shuts the church doors for the last time, after a service of thanksgiving for the years of ministry and for the seminary endowment they’re funding with the sale of their property.
Paul’s words don’t say everything is God’s perfect will and design. They say the act of giving thanks is what God asks of us. So, if you want an interesting and challenging journey this Thanksgiving season, look at those things that make you unhappy. Look at the difficulties in your life. Then, search for a source of thanksgiving within them. What comes to mind? The challenge begins . . . NOW!