CLERGY CORNER: “Give thanks in all circumstances”

Posted on 15 November 2018 by LeslieM

(I Thessalonians 5:18a)

On behalf of Zion Lutheran Church and myself, Pastor Jeff Gross, I want to wish our community a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving. For those who are traveling, be safe. Enjoy the company of the people you love. And let thankfulness and gratitude be the focus of all of your celebrations. God has been good to us and let us not forget His many blessings.

When should we give thanks? When we feel like being thankful? How about when we don’t feel like being thankful? When we are in good spirits? How about when we aren’t in good spirits? Being thankful at all times is a tall order, when you think about it. Is this even a practical expectation? I am glad you asked. I actually have an answer.

I was at a church conference last week in north-central Florida. I had a chance to stay with my son, to cut down some expenses, and when the day was over I could visit him. This was a gift for which I am very grateful.

And as I was driving toward his apartment, my car started to shake. The tire light never came on so I dismissed the idea that it was a flat. Maybe the car was out of alignment. Who knows? I just knew that I had to bring it to a shop the next morning because it was a Sunday night, not the ideal time for car problems. Monday would be better.

The next morning, the tire blew out and plans changed. I was in a strange neighborhood. I called AAA and they were running late … Monday is a busy day. And, when they came, I knew I had to get a new tire, which isn’t cheap. And this would also, potentially, delay my morning.

I wasn’t feeling grateful. I wasn’t in the right mood. This is one circumstance when I didn’t want to give thanks. Just then something snapped (in a good way).

I give no credit to myself. This was a God moment. I realized that I was fortunate. I have a car to get me around. A lot of people don’t have cars. I have a cell phone that enables me to call for help and a AAA membership. I have the means to get a new tire. I had a chance to go to a conference on Ministry with my fellow Lutheran pastors. I had some quality time with my son the night before.

When the AAA person helped me with my tire, I was in great spirits. I confused the clerk at the tire place by being unusually happy with a blown out tire. Most people are in bad spirits when this happens. In fairness, so was I, until I “snapped.” And, when all was said and done, I had a new tire and got to the conference with plenty of time to spare. I thank God that I had a flat tire. Yes, I thank God I had a flat tire. It grounded me in the reality that I am fortunate and it shifted my attitude in the right direction. Call it a “gratitude attitude.”

I may come across as a starry eyed optimist but I can assure you that I can be a real curmudgeon, especially if I don’t have my coffee. Truth be told, something as simple as counting blessings can change your entire day, your entire outlook on life. An inconvenience can become a gift.

These words from the Bible have practical implications. If you are having a bad day that is the BEST time to count your blessings.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I know that it is the one day a year set aside to give thanks. One day is woefully inadequate considering how blessed we truly are. Every day should be Thanksgiving. Every moment should be an opportunity for gratefulness.

I want you to feel as good as I did that Monday morning when a flat tire actually made my day. The good news is that you can. It only requires some reflection and perspective. You don’t have to look far to find a blessing. And, when you do, celebrate. The quality of your day depends upon it.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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