Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, flavors, and smells of autumn. I enjoy a cool, crisp day, especially if the sun is out and the sky is clear. I love the holidays that accompany this time of year. However, a few days ago I realized that I have been so preoccupied with all of the things that I have to do, that I haven't taken time to appreciate the season. It would have been sad if I had let my favorite season go by without taking time to enjoy it. More than that, I would have been neglecting the blessings of God's wonderful creation. It is easier than we think to neglect the blessings in our lives. It happens all the time. We don't do it on purpose, but we get busy. We take life's gifts for granted.
As Thanksgiving approaches our thoughts naturally turn to God's blessings. We stop for a moment and give thanks. Yet, all too soon Thanksgiving in over and we revert to our normal routine. It is amazing how the pressures of Black Friday and the preparation for Christmas can make us forget about the abundance of God's blessings in our lives.
How can we live in such a way that we embrace our blessings? As I reflect on my own life, I realize that there are 3 things that I need to do to more fully appreciate the gifts that God has given me. First, I need to slow down. I need to take more time each day to be present in the moment and breathe in the blessings that surround me. Second, I need to say thank you more. I need to let those around me know how much I appreciate them, and I need to thank God more frequently for the gifts in my life. Third, I need to share my blessings with others. The blessings that God gives us are not meant for our use alone. They are given us so that we can use them to bless others. This is the part of celebrating our blessings that people often forget, but it is vital.
It is no coincidence that Thanksgiving and the church's stewardship program are in the same season. It has long been the tradition that people of faith respond to the blessings of the harvest by giving a portion back to God. In fact, the teaching of scripture is that we give the first and best 10 percent back to God. Returning a portion of our gifts back to God is an act of trust that the God who has provided for us in the past will continue to do so in the future. More than that, it is a recognition that we are the stewards of the gifts that God has given us, not their owner. They are given to us to accomplish God's will in the world.
During this season of Thanksgiving and stewardship, I encourage you to stop each day and reflect on the gifts that God has given you. Take a moment to say thank you to God, and consider how you will return a portion of your blessings back to God. I invite you to prayerfully consider your pledge, and on Sunday, November 12 make a pledge to the church that reflects your gratitude to God.
Your brother in Christ,