Summary: Experiment with waking up thankful. It'll change your day, and if you do if often enough, it'll change you life.
Devotions for The Feast - April 12, 2016
[This was a short devotion given at an inner-city mission during a mid-week service]
Some people are never happy. A woman’s grandson is playing in the water, she is 5standing on the beach not wanting to get her feet wet, when all of a sudden, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly over the spot where the boy is wading.
The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. He simply vanished. She holds her hands to the sky, screams and cries, "Lord, how could you?
“Have I not been a wonderful mother and grandmother? Have I not given to people when they had need? Have I not tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?"
A few minutes later another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes on the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there, smiling, splashing around as if nothing had ever happened.
A loud voice booms from the sky, "Okay, okay, I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?"
She responds, "He had a hat."
Sometimes we’re never happy. Sometimes our state of mind during the day depends on how we go about waking up in the morning.
What happens when you wake up in the morning? Sometimes I wake up grumpy, sometimes grumpy wakes me up. Actually, Barb is never grumpy. I'm blessed in that way.
I recall at one time in my life waking up many mornings with my head throbbing, from rather unpleasant hangovers. That's not a great way to wake up. But there is a great way to wake up.
It is with a sense of gratitude for being a life, a sense of thankfulness for the new day, for new opportunities to do better today.
Some days go good. Some days go not so good. Some days you would like to repeat. Some days you never want to think about again, right?
Sometime ago now, I began to experiment with waking up with thanks on my lips. Thank you God that I am alive today.
Thank you that I won't breath in my lungs. Thank you but I don't have any pain today. Thank you that those I know and love are OK, they are well cared for.
That decision to wake up with gratitude, oddly enough, seems to impact the whole day. It helps create a positive start to the day, a better attitude throughout the day.
The Bible says “give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. That’s from 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Bible encourages us to be thankful in all situations. That doesn't mean for all situations, because, obviously, there are some terrible situations that we can find ourselves in, or that our friends or family or are facing, or things going on in the world, like the Paris and Beirut bombings a number of months ago.
But we can be thankful in all things. No matter what is going on, we can choose to find in ourselves a place of gratitude. The old preacher used to start every service with a note of gratitude: “Thank you God for his beautiful day”.
This use to bug some of the people in the congregation. “Why is he always so upbeat?” One Sunday there was a terrible storm and it poured and poured and poured.
As the old preacher walked up to the pulpit the people said: “Ha. What’s he going to say today? Nothing to be thankful for today!”.
Then the old preacher started the service and he began: “"Gracious Lord," his prayer began, "we thank you that all days are not like today."
It's really good to look for the positive in all situations, to approach life not thinking that it is a drag, a burden, a chore.
But rather to choose to believe that life is a blessing, and that one of the reasons that I get to be alive today is to encourage another person, to bless someone else.
Do you ever think about that? Do you think to yourself: who can I encouraged today, whose load can I lighten today, who's burden can I somehow make less troublesome by showing that I care today?
These are all choices that we make, decisions that we live by, that impact our lives, and that can really impact the world around us: our friends, our family, other community members.
So I hope that tomorrow morning you will awake with gratitude; that you, if you don't already do this, will choose to be thankful for the fact that you are alive and that there is breath in your lungs.
We're going to give thanks now, for the food, for this evening, for this community and for our time together.