I love Thanksgiving.
When I was a kid, it was so...comfortable. We went to Grandma’s, ate, played with our cousins, watched football, and eventually went home to sleep in on a glorious Friday with no school. The weather was great, seeing everyone was good and the food was amazing.
Today, I eat too much of my favorites, hang with family, watch football, and still sleep in on Friday. Again, the weather is great, seeing everyone is good and the food. What is not to like?
I love it all and I am thankful for it all.
Unfortunately, I don’t always give much thought to being thankful. I am thankful, but I don't think about it.
Every few years someone will speak up at the Thanksgiving table and want everyone to go around the table and share what they are thankful for; usually BEFORE we eat or have pie!
I totally get their motivation, but truthfully all I can think is “if you would let me have pie now instead of sharing, I would be more thankful!” I haven’t said that out loud yet, but yeah.
The “share around the table person” does have a point. We go so hard, live so busy and are activley looking for distractions we don’t give much attention to gratitude.
Recently I traveled overseas. It always leaves a mark. There are numerous problems in America but it is hard to put into words how many problems we don’t face simply by living here.
Americans aren’t better people, but for the most part we live in better situations than most of the world. And for my part, I didn’t do anything to make that happen, just got lucky being born here.
The point is, seeing things from a bigger perspective can generate undiscovered gratitude.
I want to take a shot at giving you a bigger perspective.
I have connected with enough people to know some things are universal. No matter your personality, income, age, family, or career. There are a few things everyone cares about.
Relationships Matter - No one wants to be alone. Yes there are introverts, but even introverts don’t thrive in forced isolation. You may do best with dozens of important relationships or maybe one great friend is enough; either way being with your people is critical.
Purpose is King – Do you know why people are bored, floundering, depressed, or relentlessly pursuing some life distraction? They have run up against an uncomfortable truth. Without purpose their life is empty.
Most stay busy trying to avoid reflecting on it, but it is there, in the quiet and darker places. It is a dull question that won’t go away. Why? What is my life about?
Having a job, making some money, shuttling kids to activities, reaching the top of my career, getting a dream house/car, making it to retirement, is that it?
That’s. Not. Enough.
We need our people and we need a purpose.
Here is where we make the turn. I am so thankful to have a purpose and have people. I have had these around me most of my life even if I didn’t know it.
My family is huge to me of course, but I have also known a church family for most of my life. A place where people love and accept me…failures and all. People who literally and figuratively make room for me in their lives. Not because they must, but because they want to.
For me church has always been a place where I feel like I belong. Yes, the church is full of people, flawed people. People who love and follow Jesus and fail and mess up. Yet in a way that I can’t really put into words, I have always sensed these are my people and I belong here. No church I have been a part of is perfect (if for no other reason than they let me in!). But every church I have been a part of has loved me. It is a gift from God.
Purpose has never been a question either. My purpose is to love God and love my neighbors. It may sound trite if you have been around religion for a while. If you are in a relationship with Jesus though, there is nothing trite about it. Jesus sends me out to represent Him, but He still goes with me. How cool is that?
Loving God and neighbors will plumb the depth of your soul. It will bring you the highest hi and make you wonder and doubt at times. It is never boring; it is never done and you never have to wonder about what you should do.
It is not like running on a treadmill where eventually all you want to do is get off. It is much more like a walk through your office, your neighborhood, or the school with Jesus pointing out important things along the way. It is a gift from God.
How does Thanksgiving hit you?
Take a minute now (or around the Thanksgiving table lol) and thank God for your people and your purpose.
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