Oh, give thanks unto the Lord...

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Today's Grace Moment

Backward and Forward
By Pastor Mark Jeske

This week our nation pauses. Most businesses and schools close. Kids come home from school with Pilgrim artwork, black buckled hats, and stories of Squanto. There will be much turkey, pumpkin pie, and football. There may even be some giving of thanks.

I don’t mean just being “thankful,” i.e., a generic, warm and fuzzy, slightly guilty awareness that we live pretty well. This day provides a great opportunity to ponder a direct object for the transitive verb to thank. Thanking Somebody who makes good things happen is learned behavior, like telling the truth, like honoring a promise, like staying faithful to a flawed spouse even when it’s hard, like sticking to a job and finishing it.

The Bible helps us with deep insights into cause and effect in our lives. Are our treasures the result of our hard labor? . . . of blind, random luck? . . . of destiny or kismet or accumulated karma? No, actually not. Everything good in our lives comes as a result of direct intervention by a loving Creator and by a Redeemer who loves to do good things for his children. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights (i.e., the stars)” (James 1:17).

Do you have time this week to take inventory of the treasures in your life? As you look backward and thank your Benefactor, has it occurred to you that you can look forward with the same gratitude and joyful anticipation? The One who made your past better is already planting gifts in your future.

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