As we begin this month of Thanksgiving, there are many things we can all be grateful for. Maybe for you it’s the basic necessities of life. Maybe it’s your family and friends who are always there for you when you need them. Or maybe for you it’s gratitude for good health or for just making it through this past year with all of life’s ups and downs.
As I reflect on what I’m thankful for this year, I think of the many people who have helped me along the way and who have helped me to be who I am today. I think about my parents who raised me and cared for me in so many ways, and oftentimes in ways I took for granted. I am the youngest of four siblings, so I’m thankful for the ways they went through all the “stuff” before I did, and that I got to learn from their mistakes (and even learn what I could get away with).
It’s not just our families that make us who we are, though. I also think of the many ways others have built a foundation for my life. So many people have made our lives and our world better by their hard work and dedication. Teachers and mentors who have taught us so many lessons. Doctors and medical workers who have taken care of us through difficult illnesses. Construction workers who have paved roads and built buildings years ago that we still get to use today. Farmers whose daily work puts food on our tables. Just take a few minutes and try to count up all the people who have done so much to impact your life. Who are the people who have directly and indirectly helped you get to where you are today?
As Christians, we are fully aware that none of us are self-made women and men. We have all made it to where we are today because of so many people who have cared for us in so many ways, and because of a God who cares for us in so many ways that we often take for granted. “Every day we stand in the shade of trees we did not plant. We live in houses we did not build. We eat food we did not produce. We ponder ideas that are not original to us. So, too, we live in a body and with a mind and a spirit that we did not choose or create.” (Donald Hinze)
In the next several weeks, you are going to hear about our stewardship campaign “Built on a Firm Foundation.” As a congregation, we’re going to focus on the many blessings we have been given and we’re going to consider how we can use those blessings to do God’s work in this world. Think about the many ways we have been blessed not only as individuals but as a congregation. What firm foundation have we been building upon? How might you be a part of building that same kind of foundation for others?
The truth is we have all been blessed in more ways than we can count. We all have much to be thankful for, and we all get the opportunity to join in the beautiful work that God is already doing in this world. May we continue to share our gratitude in words and action, so that others recognize God’s many blessings in their lives. And then all of us can say together, “Thanks be to God!”
Pastor Dane