Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

November 16, 2023

A Pastoral Word. . .Overdue Returns

Pastor Kevin Freeman

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The Saint Helena Library near San Francisco processes plenty of book returns each week, but librarians discovered a surprising return recently. It was a book entitled A History of the United States, by Benson Lossing, published in 1892. It had most recently been checked out in 1927, nearly 100 years ago!

The library staff do not know who returned it or when or why, but they are grateful to have it back, despite its deteriorated condition. Still, they are curious. “We would love to know where it’s been,” said the library’s director, Chris Kreiden. Mysteries like these do pique our curiosity.

Maybe you have a spot in your home reserved for items you have borrowed and need to return to people: books, bakeware, a tool, a sweater. In our home we try, often unsuccessfully, to remember to take the right item with us when we go out so that we do not keep it too long. I am happy to say I have never kept items for ninety-six years – yet!

But there is something else we often hang onto for too long: gratitude. Our heavenly Father graciously gives us so many blessings, yet we forget to return our thankfulness to Him. Perhaps you have a spot in your mind that has accumulated reasons to express your gratitude to God and others, but in your daily haste you forget to return thanks.

The Bible emphasizes the importance of expressing thankfulness to the Lord. This act is not simply for God. Thankfulness blesses us! Here are some reasons to give gratitude to God:

  • Thankfulness is God’s will for us.  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

  • Thankfulness expresses our dependence on God.  “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

  • Thankfulness helps us mature in Christ.  “Rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7).

  • Thankfulness proclaims God’s deeds.  “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” (2 Chronicles 16:8).

  • Thankfulness emboldens our service.  “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9).

  • Thankfulness stirs up a heart of prayer.  “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

  • Thankfulness builds unity and fellowship.  “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

There are so many reasons to give gratitude to God! Whether it is overdue or not, there is never a bad time to return thanks to Him. What thanks will you offer Him today?

Your partner in ministry,
Kevin Freeman
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