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Let us give thanks

Published 10:08am Thursday, November 28, 2013

By Rev. Jonathan Yarboro

Greetings from the corner of Bridge and Bridge! May the blessings of the season of thanksgiving be with you. May they also be made real in and through you in everything you do.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. It will be the day the Lord has made, just like today and every other day that was, is and ever shall be. Let us rejoice and be glad in that.

It is no coincidence that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. I cannot remember a time when I was not encouraged in some way to be mindful of giving thanks before moving on to thinking about what I wanted to give others or wanted for myself for Christmas. I greatly appreciate learning this as a child.

I am not sure my parents realized how meaningful this particular lesson was at the time. My guess is they shared the wisdom because it was shared with them when they were children. They knew it was important because of personal experience. That is usually how wisdom works.

We are living in the most technologically advanced time known to humankind. Access to good information has never been easier. The ability to share wisdom is experiencing fewer boundaries than at any time in history.

Why then is the earthly kingdom so seemingly ignorant? I believe part of the reason is that our so-called advancements increase our self sufficiency. For instance, what need do any of us have for a reference librarian when we have Google? Why bother trying to get answers from a doctor when we have www.webmd.com?

Biblical wisdom has something to teach us about this. Throughout the history of God’s people, any rising sense of self sufficiency always results in decreased collective wisdom. In other words, the more self reliant we allow ourselves to become, the poorer our decision making ability becomes.

This very human cause and effect can be altered. There is the possibility we can continue to progress as a human race and become wiser at the same time. It is actually part of God’s plan, and it comes as a gift. God gives us all specific talents and calls us to share them with one another through personal and professional relationships. God made us interdependent.

The ability to give thanks is a gift from God. Whenever any of us is faced with a lack, we can always think of something to be thankful for. Thanks be to God.

This is not a matter of trying to be a glass half-full person as opposed to a glass half-empty one; more than simply striving to be optimistic instead of pessimistic. Those are attitudes and positions. They can be helpful, but they are human creations and as such are limited.

Oftentimes, the things we have to be most thankful for cannot be orchestrated by the smartest, wisest mortal being. Life sustaining blessings are too magnificent to be claimed by any human being. Their scope exceeds human capability.

What are you most thankful for? What sustains you in the most trying of circumstances? I am willing to bet whatever it is could not have come from human efforts alone.

If you really want to learn how to be thankful, spend some time with people who appear to have nothing. They can show you what it means to be truly thankful. The more possessions we amass, the less thankful we tend to be.

Doesn’t make much sense, does it? I don’t think so either. Maybe it’s time for us to get wise and change that. Give thanks above all else. Think about it.

 

The Rev. Jonathan Yarboro is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka.

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