Posted tagged ‘thanks’

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!

The Grinch at Starbucks

December 26, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   December 25, 2013

The elderly gentleman arrived at the entry door of Starbucks just ahead of a forty-something man with a serious look on his face and a cell phone attached to his ear. The senior opened the door and invited the other visitor to enter ahead of him. He did and gave his doorman a half-nod.

This was the second visit to the store that morning for the wiser of the two. The second cup of coffee was free for him, so he had taken a morning drive as he sipped on the first cup and then stopped back on his way home. His wife knew his routine, and knew how long it took him to drink twenty-four ounces of the dark roast.

The forty-something hadn’t changed out of his flannel pants, presumably the ones he had worn to bed the night before. He stepped up to the counter and gave no reply to the barista who greeted him.

Harry, the elderly gent, took his time moving from the entrance to his place in line behind the man. He stood there with his coffee cup in hand patiently waiting. The man in the flannel pants in front of him began giving his order…”Latte with skim milk…three shot mocha cappuccino…vanilla latte skim extra shot…americano…medium roast coffee…caramel macciato…three sausage breakfast sandwiches…and a pumpkin spice latte skim.”

     “What size on those drinks, sir?”

      The customer looked perturbed to even have the question be asked. “All talls!”

       “Yes, sir! That will be $31.55.”

       “$31.55! Good Lord! Are you sure about that?”

      The young woman with the patience of Job printed out a copy of the bill. “Yes, sir! Here’s the breakdown on each purchase.”

      The agitated mid-life crisis grabbed it and scanned the figures.

“Cash or credit, sir?”

      “Credit!” bellowed her challenger. The wallet was whipped out of his back pocket to show his disgust. He peered into the pockets of the fake leather, hesitated, and then searched again more frantically.

       “Is there a problem, sir?”

       “I’m missing my credit card,” replied the embarrassed adversary. “I must have pulled it out of my wallet at home and…”

       “Allow me to take care of it, my friend.” The voice of the elderly gentleman was friendly and understanding. “Amanda, would you put this gentleman’s purchases on my bill?”

       “I can’t let you do that. I don’t even know you,” said the man.

“No, but Amanda here does, and she knows that I’m going to get a refill on the dark roast before I even order, and leave me a little room for cream. Isn’t that right, Amanda?”

      “That’s right, Wally.”

      “Sir, I don’t know if…”

      “Let me ask you something, friend. I take it that you aren’t going to drink all of those lattes and drinks, and eat all of those breakfast sandwiches yourself. And I’m guessing that since you are wearing those flannel pants that you are returning home to a place where a few other people close to you are waiting to get caffeinated. This is just my opinion, but I would say it would be better for you to accept my gift here than to disappoint a houseful of people there.”

       The man glanced back and forth for a few moments pondering his dilemma, and then said, “Okay!”

       “Each one of us has found ourselves in awkward situations such as this. It is at those times that I pray that God would put someone behind me to pick me up from my mistake and let me know it will be okay. Perhaps some day soon you’ll be that person

next in line.”

        The man nodded with a look of partial appreciation and he slowly moved down a few feet to the counter where his drinks and food would appear. A few minutes later, with drink carrier and bag in hand, he stepped towards the door to depart. As he opened the door he hesitated and then looked back at his Starbucks savior.

“Wally…thank you!”

         Wally’s wrinkled face broke into a warm smile. He raised his coffee cup to the man and nodded “You’re welcome.”