Soon we will be sitting down to a table where food will be in abundance, family will be surrounding us and good times will be remembered and yes it’s called Thanksgiving. This is the time of year we often remember to give thanks and praise to the one who made all this happen.
This morning though God asked me if I remembered to give thanks for all the opportunities I have had. It is right and a good thing to give God thanks for those who are in our lives, but how often do we give thanks for the opportunities to serve him?
When I look back on the last eleven plus years I am amazed at all the opportunities I have had. It boggles the mind. It doesn’t stop there. I have been given the opportunity to install officers for three different United Methodist Women’s organizations from three different churches. One was this past Saturday. I was given the opportunity by God to meet some sisters in Christ I would never have gotten to meet if God had not given me the opportunity. I was allowed to share my story briefly about the frogs in my life. They want to hear more so I am sure if it’s God’s will I will return and share more of what God is doing in my life. I thank God for those he has put in my life.
I was given the opportunity to worship in a different church and a different denomination. I pondered about this for quite some time. I wondered if I really wanted to miss my own church service and visit one that will be different in many ways from mine. Part of me was selfish and wanted to back out and stay in my comfort zone and with my own church family . Another part of me wanted to experience something different and to get out of my comfort zone. I chose to step out of my comfort zone.
While in the church service worshipping God I suddenly realized we may have different beliefs, we may worship different and our worship styles may seem strange to one another, but in the end we all worship and love the same God. It was amazing to hear the voices as they sung their praises and hymns to God. This particular group does not have musical instruments in their worship, but I heard music as I listened to the voices raised in song. It was almost as if angels were singing. It was wonderful.
To hear the many stories of what their congregation is doing to spread the news of Christ and to see men weep because of something that had been accomplished that morning was breath taking. I watched as a young couple was baptized into new life dying to their old self.
I often wondered if I went to a mega church would I find Christ there. The answer is yes at least in this one. The love seen on each face, the greeting of one another in Christ and the presence of God will be something I will take with me. Thank you God, for the opportunity to know that others who worship different than me are still my brothers and sisters in Christ.
In this day of division and disunity I am thankful God taught me a good lesson. We may all be different on the outside, we may worship in a different manner and in a different denomination, but in the heart we all love and worship the same God. We are unified when we come to the cross and accept Christ, love him and serve him. We are one people working toward the same goal and that is sharing the good news of our God. We may do it differently, but the end result is still the same.
As I sit down at a table that is filled with food and family I will pause and yes thank God for family, but I think this year I will include the many opportunities God has given me to serve him.
Psalm 107:8-9 reminds me, “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” My thirst may be satisfied this Thursday and my stomach will be filled with many good things, but my heart will rejoice and be mindful of all the opportunities I have been given.
We often ask people to make a list and count your blessings and see what God has blessed you with. We often put family, cars, homes, beds and even water on our list. I challenge you this year to make a list of all the opportunities God has given you. Where has God led you and how have you been blessed by where he has led you?
It’s not always easy to step out of our comfort zone. On my way to churches to share or even just to install officers I always wonder why I am stepping out of my comfort zone. Why can’t I just be me and not do those things I am called to do. After an event I realize God has blessed me more than I have blessed others. God has poured his blessing out on me in more ways than I will ever be able to acknowledge. I give my thanks to the one who humbles me and asks me to do something so simple; take that first step and put my trust in him.
Where are you today? Has God asked you to step out of your comfort zone? Thank him for the opportunity to do so and then take that first step. God will bless you significantly.
Dear God, I pause and give thanks for the opportunities you have given me to share, to experience, to help me understand. I am blessed each time I step out of my comfort zone and do what you have asked me to do. Never let me take for granted the many ways you have given me to serve you. Thank you for the opportunity to know we may worship different, but we love the same God and we really are brothers and sisters in you. Amen