THANKFUL?

dsc_0419As I was writing about being thankful in all circumstances yesterday, I thought of a situation in our own life where we weren’t very thankful – at first.

One evening Ken received a phone call from a man who said their church was looking for a pastor and would Ken be interested.  He went on to say that Ken had been highly recommended and that there was already a good feeling that he would be the next person to fill their pulpit.  Some members of the church had met Ken somewhere and heard him speak and were sure he was the right choice.

The man went on to say that when the last pastor left, they had offered the church to a young man who had grown up in the congregation and then left for Bible college and seminary. Everyone felt that since he was “one of their own” he should have the opportunity to come back to the church and pastor. But the young man had decided to pursue another option.

Ken was their next choice. This man was sure of it.

Let’s just say that we were excited. We knew of the church and from our point of view, it was the exact right fit. Not only did we agree doctrinally, but it was in a town that had a lot of growth potential – and the location would be just right for our family.

The calls went back and forth, including conference calls with the board members.

 Although Ken and I had been through the town many times, we took off early one morning and drove the couple hundred miles and checked out the area in more detail.

Everything looked good.

The church asked for cassettes of Ken’s messages so the people would have a chance to hear him. The call came back that everything was good.

A date was made for us to come candidate.  

And then we received another call. The man who had grown up in the church decided he wanted the church after all. The board members wanted Ken, but the man’s family had a lot of influence and reminded them that they had offered it to their son.

And that was the end of that.

No, we were not in a very thankful frame of mind at first (but we got over it.)

But a year later, when looking at how our life had changed and where we did end up, we could see that that would’ve been the absolutely, wrong choice for us. Even the personal part of it, the part that liked the location, was no longer viable. Our family was no longer nearby.

We often thought of how thankful we were that we DIDN’T get the church when we looked back at it and it helped us accept some other circumstances that didn’t seem right at the time. Better to ask for God’s will, to accept His sovereignty and allow Him to be in control.

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – THANKS CHECK

dsc_0856 I’m subbing as a Bible study speaker at the end of the month, not at the church where I’ve been attending, but at another church.

This is not your typical Bible study.  This is a study where the regular leader starts the sessions by saying, “I’m not glad you’re here.”

That’s because you wouldn’t be in that Bible study if your husband hadn’t died. Some of the women are seasoned widows, having lost their husbands decades ago. Others are young, newly-christened widows struggling not only with the lost of their husbands, but with the wisdom they need to care for very young children or overwhelming financial burdens.

I am planning now what to say. I am planning now because I know whatever I say will not only be something I pray will help them, but myself as well. I have chosen the subject of thankfulness.

Those of you who read my regular blog know that, since Ken has died, I occasionally do thanks checks. When I get discouraged or overwhelmed or lonely – I sit down and make myself write out what is good in my life.  To focus on the thanks has been a great comfort – and motivator to once again get going. (And I do this a lot more times than I ever share, believe me.)

My goal is to share with the ladies that we can be thankful, that we should be thankful, that we are commanded to be thankful in God’s Word. Thankfulness is not a choice.

I’m writing some of my thoughts here because even though as a pastor’s wife, you are obviously not a widow (I don’t think that works 🙂 ), I know there are days that are so discouraging that tears flow, despondency seeps in and you’re ready to throw your Sunday School teacher’s manual at the first person who dares calls your husband to complain about one more thing.

Grasp on to the thankfulness.

Here’s what is interesting.

You know those familiar verses in 1 Thessalonians 5? Those short ones, we all can quote?

16. Be joyful always.

17. Pray continually.

18. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Those verses go together.

God’s will for us is: to live in joy. (Joy, not happiness. None of us are happy all the time, but we can be joyful in our relationship with Christ.)

God’s will for us is to always be in an attitude of prayer. Every moment of every day, we should think it natural to talk with the Lord.

God’s will for us is to be thankful in all circumstances. (Notice it doesn’t say FOR all circumstances, but rather IN all circumstances.)  No, you aren’t thankful that Mrs. Knowitall is once again upset about your husband’s message or that Mr. Alwayssayno has once again, singlehandedly stopped the purchase of a new copier. But you can still be thankful to the Lord EVEN in those circumstances.

Those thanks check lists might go like this after Mrs. Knowitall once again complains.

1. I am thankful she’s at least listening to my husband’s messages.

2. I am thankful she called up and complained instead of doing it in the church lobby like she did last time.

3. I am thankful that today was a sunny day.

4. I am thankful that the Lord understands how we feel – not everyone liked His messages either.

5. I am glad that three other people said they did like the message 

6. I am glad that we’re leaving on vacation in 132 days and 3 hours …

You get the point. And don’t be afraid to but some humorous things on your list, either. Sometimes we must laugh.

Joy, a conversation with God, finding the thankfulness – that’s God’s will.

Kind of cool that it’s spelled out for us, isn’t it?

 

OOPS! I accidentally published this on Saturday. Oh, well.