This morning as I arise and look out the window of my study over snowy, picturesque, and beautiful Puget Sound there are many things which come to my mind that I am thankful for: Jesus’ love for me, my superhero wife, kind daughters, and this delicious cup of coffee that is bringing joy to my heart. But the things I’m thankful for would be an easy, albeit long, list.
What about the thankful negatives? The thankful nots? Now that is something to work on.
- I am thankful that I do not live in an oppressive land. Today many of my brothers and sisters in Christ will wake up and not have the kind of liberty to gather, pray, worship and serve the way I do. Would I still have a thankful heart toward God if I lived in such place? I hope I would. I think I would. For now I think it is sufficient to say I am thankful I do not.
- I am thankful that I do not have to worry about providing food in a primitive way for my family. I do not have to milk cows and make butter, I do not have to butcher the hog myself, and my wife does not need to spin yarn to make my clothing. Sometimes we romanticize the pioneer trail or antiquity as wonderful. I however, will celebrate and thankful that I do not live in those by-gone days. I have electricity, running water and 7 supermarkets within three miles of my home and that is good.
- I am thankful that I am not one of those famous celebrity people. I cannot imagine how terrible it would be to never have a moment of privacy and to always be the subject of someone else’s thoughts. I value too much my privacy, independence, and freedom to ever want to be celebrity. That is why I think being a writer is the best—you can be famous for your written work but most people still would not recognize your face or your voice.
- I am thankful I do not have a job I hate. In fact, I do not have a job at all—I have a calling. Sure, there are times when being a pastor is skullduggery and tedious. It is also true that there are times of great stress and pain. But the truth remains, I love my work and am energized by the basic functions I perform—study, preaching, teaching, writing, pastoral care, and leading. I am thankful I do not have a job I dread!
- The ultimate no thank you? I am thankful I am not an atheist. Of all the people in this world to be pitied, the atheist is the most pitiable. Who does the atheist thank on Thanksgiving? Where does her soul find rest? Why does he, like insane people, deny the truth painted in the very sky and in our eternal soul? I understand other religious structures—I don’t agree with them, but I understand them. What I cannot understand is how anyone could look at the world and think it was by random accident. Someone holding that belief is truly irrational and must have a miserable existence.