Imagine what a heavy schedule of appointments President Abraham Lincoln had to keep day after day. Yet when an elderly woman with no official business in mind asked to see him, he graciously consented.
As she entered Lincoln’s office, he rose to greet her and asked how he might be of service. She replied that she had not come to ask a favor. She had heard that the President liked a certain kind of cookie, so she had baked some for him and brought them to his office.
With tears in his eyes, Lincoln responded, “You are the very first person who has ever come into my office asking not, expecting not, but rather bringing me a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
When coming into God’s presence, once in a while it may be good to refrain from asking Him for something. Instead, let’s simply bring Him the gift of gratitude and love. We can be sure nothing pleases our Father more than our sincere thanksgiving.
Tags: cookies, Lincoln, prayer, thanksgiving
Former UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden told his players after scoring a goal to always acknowledge the other player who assisted with a sign. When asked, “What if the other player isn’t looking?”, Coach Wooden replied, “I guarantee he’ll look.”
The lesson is clear, anyone who assists another is looking for appreciation. We don’t need paid or a big medal, we just want recognized. I’d like to collect some recognition stories. Can you share a time when you were recognized for something you had done, or ignored for something you had done. And how did that make you feel?
Tags: appreciation, recognition, thanksgiving
I spent three Thanksgiving Days in the military, two of them away from home. The last Thanksgiving holiday, I was stationed in Augsburg, Germany, and preparing to be discharged just a little over a month from then. As you know, Thanksgiving Day is an American tradition, so there was nothing special happening off base. I was assigned to the 507th US Army Security Agency on Flak Kaserne. Because few could fly home for the holidays in 1969, the base recognized the holiday with a big turkey dinner and a keg of German beer. My office was shut down so the officers could spend time with their families, so there was nothing much to do and no supervisors to see that it got done.
I was reading a book at the time, so most of my Thanksgiving Day was spent consuming that story. To be honest, I don’t remember thinking for one moment of what I was thankful for. I just spent the day doing what I wanted to do and feeling lonely and sorry for myself.
I’m so thankful that a little more than a year later I surrendered my life to Christ and learned what real life is. Now I’m careful to think in terms of thanksgiving to God.
What was your most empty Thanksgiving?
Last Sunday afternoon Anita and I attended a funeral for our old friend, Debbie Sims. Debbie worked alongside her husband, Rev. Bob Sims, in founding three churches in Defiance, Bryan, and Avilla, and building a sizable church in Angola. Debbie had battled cancer for several years and is finally at home with the Lord.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, its good for us to remember who the people in our lives are that we are thankful for. I’m thankful for those who influenced my spiritual life like Pastor Bob Sims and others. As you think about your life, what are the names of people you are thankful for and why. We usually take God for granted in these areas. Who is it you’re thankful for?
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4). This and many other verses in the Bible make it clear that an attitude of gratitude is essential for drawing close to the Lord.
To consider what thankfulness is, let’s discuss what it is not. The opposite of thankfulness is the attitude that I deserve what I have, that somehow I have earned it and have a right to it. We all teach our children to say thank you when we give them a gift. What kind of ungrateful child would demand anything from the parent they love?
Yet, I know some Christians that actually think they have a “right” to God’s blessings. They totally believe they can demand something from their Father because of some promise they have discovered. What kind of gratitude is that?
This year, let’s be especially thankful because we know we don’t deserve anything from a holy God. That attitude let’s us draw near.
Tags: deserve, rights, thanksgiving
One of the great scriptures that teach us the important role of Thanksgiving in the life of a believer is Psalm 107:22, which admonishes us to “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.”
Now, just what does it mean to sacrifice a thank offering? It seems that thanksgiving should be a given, so what is the sacrifice here? I think the truth is that God expects His relationship with His people to be a two-way street. If we are truly thankful for what God has freely given to us, then God expects us to take action that shows we recognize what we have as a gift from Him, and freely pass it on to others. We actually begin to act like Christ would act.
One way to do that is to bring some groceries to stock our Compassion Cupboard tonight as we gather for our Thanksgiving service from 7-8:00 PM. Food traditionally represents God’s blessings in our lives, and to donate food is a way to partner with God in passing those blessings on to someone less blessed than we. Let’s follow the advice of the Psalmist by bringing some non-perishable food items tonight.
By the way, what other ways have you found to sacrifice a thank offering?
Tags: offering, sacrifice, thanksgiving