21 February 2020

Living Gratefully

Today let us talk a bit about gratefulness. Often in church circles, we speak about “counting our blessings”. Sometimes this is difficult to do, especially when life can really stink. Life’s difficulties are the very reason it is so important that we spend a moment reflecting on what we are grateful for.

I am so very thankful for my funny little family. I love my wife and the ways she supports me, makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, challenges me and strengthens me. I am grateful for our little furry friend, Greg, who is an endless source of goofiness and gentleness. I am thankful for all of my extended family and the words of encouragement that they offer to both myself and to Steph when we are having a hard week, month, or year. The love that we experience daily from family is unforgettable and heartwarming. It is this love that comes from Jesus that thaws our hearts when they only want to be frozen over and it is this love that breaks down the walls that often feel like they are closing in on us.

I also wanted to give a shoot out to one person in particular that has shown me what generosity and kindness look like. Patricia from the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church is a woman of grace and thoughtfulness. Her late husband, Dick, served as a faithful minister in the Methodist Church for over 50 years. Dick was an avid reader and loved the Methodist Church and the theology of John Wesley. Dick served God through his knowledge and servanthood, and I am grateful for him, though I never met him. Today I met up with Patricia and she passed along a 14 volume copy of John Wesley’s writings and a commentary to me. Patricia spoke about how her late husband used these books to teach and preach on the love of Jesus, and it is an honor to carry these books with me in all places where I am sent to serve. I desire to be a great pastor like Dick, and now I feel like he will be with me in all that I do.

You are known, loved, and empowered by God to be a blessing to others. Today Patricia was that blessing for me, and now it is my job to be the blessing to others. The last thing that Patricia said to me as I left her apartment today was “remember to pass them along when the time comes.” Thank you, Patricia. I will be faithful to your love and care for me with another pastor who will come after me. I will pass along your kindness and generosity because it is the grace of God which compels us to do so.