Posted tagged ‘thankful’

Thankless Living

November 23, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             November 23, 2017

                                            

I was talking to a friend of mine recently and an acquaintance of both of us came up as a subject. My facial expression must have given me away because he asked me what the problem was? I had to explain.

The person he was referring to always seemed to come at life in a negative, pessimistic way, and I explained to my friend that I tried to minimize my contact with this other person. I feel a bit guilty about that, but it’s the reality of the situation.

Everyone of us probably knows someone, or a few someones, who fall in this category: people who lead thankless lives that see nothing positive happening. They would complain if Jesus turned water into white wine instead of red. They are the type of persons who Chick-Fil-A would never hire simply because of how people perceive them.

Thankless living people find it close to impossible to give thanks to the Lord, because they believe they have nothing to be thankful for. Thanksgiving Day is torture for them. Three football games become an escape from all the thankful people around them. They count down the hours until Black Friday where they will complain about the lines and the lack of good deals as they trudge from store to store with downcast faces.

Some thankless people have gradually taken on the cloak of despair as a result of the lives they’ve had to lead. They’ve been on the receiving end of verbal abuse for years, and now they can’t see any light. Some have been disappointed too many times and now see disappointment as the norm.

I wonder if that was a factor with the ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17. Only one of the ten ever bothered to say thank you. The other nine who had stood by the side of the road and shouted to Jesus to have pity on them were healed, and now headed to the priests to show them that they were now clean. It would have been too much of a transition to go immediately from thankless lives to thankful living…at least for 90%!

Today I’ll look for the many reasons to be thankful, to give praise for the blessings of God, for his lovingkindness and mercy. Hopefully you’ll do the same!

Rethinking About The Little Thankings

November 18, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             November 18, 2016

                        

As Thanksgiving Day descends upon us it has caused me to think about the little things I’m thankful for. Perhaps you have your own list that resonates within you. Here’s a few things that cause me to stop, ponder, and be continually thankful for:

1) Sitting on the couch with my three grandkids watching TV, especially if one or two of them are leaned up against me. It causes me to remember when I was growing up and sitting beside my mom and dad in church, leaning into their warmth and presence. Now Reagan and Rennie lean into me and warm my soul!

2) Sunday early evening phone conversations with my dad. Since we’re two time zones apart it usually happens right after I’ve eaten dinner and he’s getting ready for bed. My dad is 88! His pleasant Eastern Kentucky accent carries a flood of family memories with it. As I talk with him I’m thinking of many of those things that he has brought to my life. He taught me how to drive, using our ’66’ Chrysler Newport as the guinea pig. In fact, the first time I drove it in the Ironton Junior High School parking lot I was trying to turn it so hard that I broke the power steering. Although he thought about killing me, patience won out!

3) Being married to a woman with a heart for kids who have needs. Carol is sensitive to those who have limitations as she works with special needs students in middle school. Although she retired at the end of the last school year she gets called EVERY SCHOOL DAY…Trust me! EVERY SCHOOL DAY!…to substitute! She comes alongside students who sometimes are ostracized in the midst of the middle school culture. At the end of the school day she is one tired puppy!

4) The ability to reflect and write. God has gifted me with an unusual talent. Most days as I sit on my Starbucks stool and peck out my blog post I have no idea what I’m about to write until I start writing it. Sometimes it comes as I put the Half and Half in my first cup of coffee; sometimes it comes as I sit and stare at Pike’s Peak for a couple of minutes…but it always seems to come! Most of the time it even makes sense!

5) A renewed passion for the church! As I help First Baptist Church in Simla, Colorado navigate the future it excites me. My excitement is definitely not based on compensation, but rather on “mission and purpose.” I love this congregation of twenty, who are anxious about their future. Thirty-seven years of pastoring has prepared me to offer advice and lead them to the questions that they need to be asking themselves.

6) The memories that pain me! That probably sounds strange, and yet I’m thankful for the wounds of my soul! In the past two months I’ve presided over the funerals of two dear people- a 95 year old saint named Rex and a 41 year old friend and father named Greg. I cried at both of them, and I am thankful that my life was blessed by them to the point that I was deeply impacted. Even now as I write these words the grief once again is like a wave that rushes over me.

We often think about the big reasons to be thankful, but the lake of thanksgiving is held together by small pebbles of gratitude!

Sunday Afternoon Naps

June 15, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          June 14, 2015

                                              

I’m convinced every Sunday afternoon that God knew what he was doing when he called for a day of rest. Of course, as a pastor “Sunday rest” is somewhat of a “qualified term.” Some Sundays I see a few people in their sanctuary seats who have gotten a head start on me…nap, that is!

When I get home Sunday afternoon I become a cranky old codger if I’m not allowed to lay my head on the pillow. Usually I take a book, open it to whatever page I’m on, and get anywhere from ten pages to two paragraphs read before I’m snoring like a kid with tonsil problems!

Some Sundays all I need is about 20 minutes. Other Sundays I’m dead to the world for a couple of hours.

Naps are gifts from God! Rest is undervalued by our culture. Some people rest at the wrong times…like at their place of employment, so they can be rested to be active after work. Some people treat rest like it’s poison ivy. Keep it away!

I don’t know if it’s my profession or my age…or both…but I am extremely thankful God created a Sunday afternoon 2 P.M. I was I still subject to parental discipline I might act out around that time so I could be disciplined with a time-out in my room.

We live in a tired world. A healthy life is like a swinging pendulum that goes back and forth between work and rest, or work and play. That’s right, play can be restful. One thing that my grandkids do is say to me “Granddad, tell us a story…using our feet!” They plop their two pairs of feet across my lap and giggle with glee as I make up a story that uses their toes as props. Those moments of storied play bring a chuckle to my spirit when I’m dealing with stress.

Restful play and playful rest. Very few people get to the end of a week and wish they could have worked more, but a lot of tired folk get to the end of a week and wish they could have relaxed more.

I’ve decided that Sunday afternoon naps are so good I usually do a sequel on Monday. Not as long, but re-energizing. I used to feel guilty about that. Not any more! Pardon the pun, but I’ve given the guilt a rest!