Summary: What are we most thankful for in our lives? What is most important? What is the best day of our lives?
The text for this morning’s message comes from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. Thessalonica is modern day Salonica, the second largest city in Greece and it lies on the Aegean Sea. For those who attend Bible Study on Wednesday evenings, we mentioned the Aegean Sea referring to the Goat Sea. The prophet Daniel pointed to the Greek Empire hundreds of years before when he had a vision of the ram and goat, the goat representing Greece, specifically Alexander the Great.
Back in the day when it was known as Thessalonica, it was considered a “free city” which was ruled by its own people under the Roman Empire. It was a thriving city, the hub of political and commercial activity.
Paul wrote these two letters from Corinth and his main purposes were to encourage the church, to address some false allegations and to comfort the people. He wanted them to remain strong in their faith, to understand the importance of unity and moral living, and to remind them that God wanted them to move forward and not be set in their ways.
Wow. Not much has changed huh? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Do you know that these verses have been printed in our church Sunday bulletin every week since our inception? Look at the words printed in the middle just under “The Power of Prayer.”
Especially this time of year we are reminded to give thanks for everything. This week we are celebrating with a Thanksgiving Service of Remembrance on Tuesday evening. I do hope you are planning to attend. It will be followed by a pie social and we all know how much we love pies. And then Thursday we will gather with family and friends to give thanks for all we have, our freedoms, our loved ones, yes another Thanksgiving Day. A time to humbly consider what is most important in our lives. What is most important? There is a line from a recent movie Cheryl and I watched that says; “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. The general opinion is that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.”
So what is most important to give thanks for in our lives?
Last Wednesday at our weekly gathering at Atria, I asked just that and what may be the most important day of our lives? I have shared this before, but it seems so appropriate for today. What is the best day of your life? This is called “The Best Day of My Life.” Listen to these words:
Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! And because I did I'm going to celebrate!
Today, I'm going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make me stronger.
I will go through this day with my head held high, and a happy heart.
I will marvel at God's seemingly simple gifts: the morning dew, the sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, the birds. Today, none of these miraculous creations will escape my notice.
Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. I'll make someone smile. I'll go out of my way to perform an unexpected act of kindness for someone I don't even know.
Today, I'll give a sincere compliment to someone who seems down. I'll tell a child how special he is, and I'll tell someone I love just how deeply I care for them and how much they mean to me.
Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don't have and start being grateful for all the wonderful things God has already given me.
I'll remember that to worry is just a waste of time because my faith in God and his Divine Plan ensures everything will be just fine.
Tonight, before I go to bed, I'll go outside and raise my eyes to the heavens. I will stand in awe at the beauty of the stars and the moon, and I will praise God for these magnificent treasures.