Thanks Be to God . . . or What I Did on My Summer VacationDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations.
As you know, during the last month, I took a sabbatical from writing new entries each day. Instead, my colleagues at TheHighCalling.org sent out "greatest hits" that I had written previously. Now you'll begin to receive new reflections as we finish working through 1 Corinthians (during the week) and continue working through the Psalms (on the weekend).
However, before I get back to 1 Corinthians, I want to offer thanks to the Lord for many gifts in the past month, part of which was vacation, and part of which was used for writing leave and ministry planning. The Psalms teach us to thank God, not only in our hearts and our private devotions, but "among all the people" (108:3). That's what I'd like to do today. Perhaps my example of thanksgiving will encourage you to do the same.
First, I can't even begin to express my gratitude to God for the staggering beauty of creation, as well as the ability to perceive this beauty. Our family vacation included several days in the High Sierra of California, as well as time along the beach.
I want to offer thanks for the privilege of a vacation. How blessed I am to work for an organization that actually pays me to take time off for refreshment and renewal. I am also thankful for my colleagues at Laity Lodge and The High Calling. Their faithfulness and hard work allow me not only to get away, but also to do so without worry about what's happening back "on the home front." In particular, I want to thank Dan and Christy, who coordinated the publishing of my "greatest hits."
While in California, I enjoyed renewing relationships with dear friends, as well as making some new ones. I was able to get to know the new pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, where I served for sixteen years. Pastor Scott is an open-hearted, godly man who has already begun to do a great job leading a church I will always love. I also was able to officiate at an installation service for a friend and at a wedding for a daughter of friends. What a joy to walk with people through the years!
Though I was glad for a break from my daily work at Laity Lodge, I am also thankful for the gift of such meaningful and worthwhile work. Sometimes I am amazed that I get to write these reflections as a part of my job. I also want to thank many of you who sent me an email of encouragement during the last month. What a blessing to read your kind words! How grateful I am that God uses these reflections to help you grow in his love and grace.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. I did take a couple of hours last week to share many more prayers of thanks with the Lord, whose goodness to me never ceases to amaze me. Nothing renews my faith and helps me to appreciate life more than extensive times of thanksgiving. May I encourage you to find time in the next few days to think through your life and tell the Lord just how thankful you are.
Tomorrow, we'll get back to our devotional study of 1 Corinthians. Until then, may the peace of Christ be with you!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What helps you to offer thanks to God for his gifts in your life? How has God blessed you in this past summer? PRAYER: Gracious God, how marvelous are your gifts to me. How faithful and good you are. Your mercies are, indeed, new every morning.
Thank you, dear Lord, for the gifts you have showered upon me this summer.
Thank you for the blessings of vacation and rest. Thank you for the challenges and joys of my work.
Thank you for the people who fill my life . . . for friends old and new, for my colleagues at work, for those who encourage me with their kind words and deeds, for those who teach me and pray for me.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you, of living my life for your purposes. Thank you for teaching me how to live for you each moment of each day.
Thank you, most of all, for your love in Jesus Christ, the foundation of my life. Amen.