…in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you…
~First Thessalonians 5:18
In the book entitled Mindfulness Day by Day: How to Create Peace and Happiness in Your Daily Life the writer quotes the following from an unknown author:
Be thankful you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to? Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn. Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you an opportunity for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character. Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made an effort. It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks. Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings. (p 63)
I have to be very honest with each and every one of you (parishioners), this global pandemic has sent me through an array of emotions—some of which I don’t even know how to express verbally or in written form; however, there is one thing that I have gripped tightly into my hands; nailed to the walls of my heart; and, has been a perpetual melody flowing from my lips during these uncertain times and that one thing is so simple—it is gratitude. This one thing has carried me through these dark times when it seems as if our nation is like a ship in the middle of the ocean being rocked back and forth by a strong Euroclydon wind. Am I tired? Yes. Am I weary? Yes. Am I afraid for the future of our public health as a nation? Yes. Am I concerned about when we will be able to open the doors of our church again without wearing masks and being afraid of infecting each other with this invisible enemy? Yes. But, above all these things, I am still grateful. How can I be grateful during these uncertain times you may ask? I am grateful because things could be a lot worse. I am grateful that we have scientists, doctors, researchers, and nurses who are working around the clock to defeat this invisible enemy. I am grateful for every blessing that God has bestowed upon me (a home, a loving church family, plenty of food to eat, technology that allows me to video chat with family and friends during this global pandemic, and so much more.).
Last week when I was sitting in the office working, I was flipping through the page of the book entitled Mindfulness Day by Day: How to Create Peace and Happiness in Your Daily Life and I stumbled across the above quote. The writer of that passage is so correct. We need to thank God for the good times as well as the bad times; for our ups and our downs; our strengths and our weakness; our good days and our bad days; our failures and our successes.
I am going to leave you with the words of one of my favorite hymns by Guy Penrod:
When upon life’s billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done!
First Congregational Church of Spencerport, during this time of a global pandemic—make sure you take time out to Count Your Blessings naming them one by one.
With Much Gratitude;
Pastor Michael L. Sloan