January 19th – Giving Thanks



I know you would never say it – but millions do. ‘Thank God it’s Friday’. If you have had a frantic week, been rushed off your feet and not had time to do the things you wanted to do, it’s very tempting to get towards the weekend and thank God. You will have, at least, a break from stress for a few hours. So it’s a sentiment I’m not knocking, although ministers only work one day week don’t they? So, I guess the ecclesiastic version of the saying is: ‘Thank God it’s Monday’
Well, years a go, in a little Baptist chapel up in the Pennine hills, there was a minister who, year in, year out, faithfully cared for his little flock of people and also had got into the habit of beginning every single Sunday service by calling his people to pray, and leading them with: ‘Father we thank you …’. Every service, every week, every year ‘Father we thank you. One Sunday after Christmas the wind was blue cold, the snow was thick on the fields the roads like glass; the pipes were frozen, there was no heat in the chapel (”Keep your coats on”), the swept pavements were ice rinks – most sensible people stayed at home in bed or near the fire. Among the handful of faithful who attended church were two children who knew about the preacher’s lifetime habit of starting the service with a prayer of thanksgiving. One whispered to the other, as the minister rose to begin, “I wonder what he’ll find to be thankful for today”. They both giggled. Then he said: “Let us pray: Father we thank you that not every day is as bad as this one …” and so he continued.
There is always something to be thankful for, I guess. Even a dog whose lost his tail can wag his stump!
The greatest hymn, prayer and worship book ever written contains these words: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this- those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Psalm 107:1-6
That’s only the beginning of this Psalm of praise, which is all about being thankful for the deliverances of God.
A Prayer suggestion: Pray today, giving thanks for such health as you have, such family and friends who care about you, such peace as you receive in rest and quietness -Thank God for food and drink, the changing seasons, the labours of men and women in field and factory, in transport and marketing – for those who uphold justice, health and law in our communities: and if you’re having a wretched day, well give thanks that not all days are this bad!
Now read all of Psalm 107

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