In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving day in early October and in the US it is celebrated at the end of November. A lot of people consider it a time to eat and drink and be merry with family and friends. Which it is for a great many of us but it is a lot more than just that for me. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving I do a little reviewing of the previous year and look at where I am now versus a year ago. I set goals, mostly about character improvements but also social and financial goals too. Last year God placed it on my heart to be more content in my circumstances like what Paul talks about in Philippians 4:10-11...
...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I used these verses as a model for me to meditate on and I did for quite some time over the last year. It is easy to grumble when you see others that you deem less deserving with more than you. It is easy to ponder why things are so unfair. It is oh so easy to feel sorry for yourself. It is harder to put that out of your head but with man what seems impossible God makes possible. To judge other people is wrong and I know that. It is good and proper to measure progress by looking into your own life. Where was I, where am I now and where am I trying to get to?
Well, looking back, my life is so much better now than it was. Better than a year ago, much better than 5 years ago, much much better than 10 years ago. I am not in need and not dwelling on what I don't have. I'm building relationships, working hard and saving for the future. I'm content and comfortable with who I am. I make mistakes and don't always do the right thing but I continue to learn and strive for better. The truth is there are no failures but only opportunities for growth.
Now saying I have achieved the goal of contentment would be rather naive but I have attained a level that previously seemed unlikely at best. I will continue to strive for a deeper level but, moving forward, I am turning my major focus on a new goal that God has impressed upon me. Accepting the decisions of authority. It is easy to accept directives when you are in total agreement with them. The fair and just decisions(in my opinion) made by those above me are easy to follow. When decisions are made that I don't agree with is where I find difficulty. It is okay to discuss alternatives with the decision maker but at the end of the day I must accept their decision. Not just accept it but take it without any blustering of childishness. Sometimes people make decisions without much thought of the big picture but it is not my cross to bear. Frankly it is not worth me getting upset over. Other than anything that is immoral or illegal my goal is to be the best servant I can be. I'm not just talking about vocationally but also socially, in my Church, in my Family and in any of my daily affairs. This is what Paul was talking about in many of the letters to the 7 Churches including this from Ephesians 6:5-7 ...
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
So Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year. For me everyday is Thanksgiving, a blessing and an opportunity. In fact Thanksgiving is much more than a day but a way of life. May it be for you also!
God bless you, James