November 24, 2021
This morning I found out that our adult Sunday school teacher wasn’t going to make it in for his class. Our regular backup was out of town, so I was the fallback teacher. I wouldn’t be truthful if I said I was excited. I enjoy taking the time before church to review the sermon material and get my mind focused on the service. Still, I got up, went to church, and taught the class without any preparation. I am not a fan of not studying in depth in advance of teaching anything, but I was blessed by the folks in the room and found a ton of things to thank God for in my impromptu teaching time. I am sharing this story today because as I approach Thanksgiving Day, I am reminded that the biggest blessings in my life come from the gifts God gives me.
The first thing I was thankful for was the opportunity to laugh and talk with a room full of adults who really knew their stuff. They offered opinions, asked questions, discussed different potential meanings of the passage we were discussing, etc. I genuinely enjoyed the unexpected time of talking with friends and family in Christ. One of the best blessings I have gotten during my time in Big Sandy has come through the people that have become part of my life.
The second blessing came from the text we were reading, 2 Corinthians 4. Paul talks in this passage about how God uses him to do His work even though he didn’t deserve to be used to God’s glory. I feel the same way as a guy who has messed up more times than I care to admit. God has forgiven me and made me useful. Paul goes on to talk about how the message we carry is like a treasure stored in a clay jar, even a cracked one. One class member pointed out that the good things stored in us show through the cracks. I had never realized that this was part of the point. In my most broken and cracked parts, God’s goodness shows through because He works despite me and often through my past hurts and broken parts. I found myself grateful for the bad parts of my life, which God has used to help me pastor better. In these things, the verse made me realize I have something to thank Him for: He uses me despite my past and even my broken parts can bring Him glory. I am thankful for that truth, which gives meaning to things that could otherwise feel like nothing but terrible memories.
It sounds strange, but I wasn’t looking for reasons to be grateful or for reasons to say: “Thank goodness it’s Thanksgiving so I can praise the God who gives me blessings and mercies well beyond what I deserve.” I encourage you in this holiday to look for what God has given you and to thank Him. Despite the crazy year and the trying time, we have much to thank Him for.