Well, summer is now in full swing, isn’t it? Oh, the official date may still be a few weeks off, but with the Memorial Day weekend and school graduations, the return to normalcy after COVID-19 has brought with it new freedom and joy that we have not seen or known for over a year now.
Vacation plans are fully underway for so many. But one of the hazards we’re now experiencing is that the new-found freedom from the COVID restrictions — as well as the arrival of stimulus checks and rising unemployment compensation from the government — have provided many individuals with the opportunity to take more than just a simple summer vacation, but also to avoid the thought of working for a time.
But how we view our life and the daily tasks we encounter can have a significant impact on how we do whatever we do. In Colossians 3:17, we read these words: “And in whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” So the obvious question for each of us is, “How do I view my life today – as a burden to bear or as a blessing to share?”
One fellow had this to say about his summer job: “I worked as a greenskeeper at a golf course in the summer when I was in school. I knew I had no intention to mow greens and fairways for my ‘career.’ But for the nine summers I was a greenskeeper, I regarded it as my calling [from God] for the time. I was ordinarily one of the first to arrive and the last to leave; I routinely volunteered for the most unpleasant or demanding work; and I could run any piece of equipment in the shop, which made me a ‘utility infielder’ for my [bosses].”
When we consider our work, as that young man did, as a calling from God that is a blessing to share rather than a burden to bear, we will discover that there is another very important by-product, which really is not a by-product at all. We realize what a powerful gift there is in a sense of gratitude, of simply saying “Thank you.”
In consistently offering thanksgiving to God, we will soon realize how the gift of gratitude is indeed an amazing gift from God himself. The reason is simple: it does not matter how we feel going into that time of thanksgiving, we always feel better afterward.
We don’t feel better afterward because our circumstances have changed. Or because our work has gotten easier.
No, the reason is that our thinking has changed.
When we remind ourselves that we serve a loving, good, and faithful God and that he is the only one who would lay down his life for his unworthy, rebellious servants, we realize that we indeed serve a loving Father who cares for us also!
As one scholar penned, “In saying “thank you” to our Father, we experience the joy of a proper perspective and have our hearts stirred by the renewing of our minds.”
May I encourage you to take just five minutes a day to praise God and thank Him for all He has done?
Those few moments have the power to stir our hearts and make us open to and aware of God’s will for us in every situation.
It also fills us with a spirit of joy and assurance that indeed we are fulfilling God’s calling for our lives and choosing a life of fellowship with the Father over the pursuits of the world as temptations and situations arise.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
God has put each of us here in this place for this time. The main question that I have for YOU is: “Are you actively pursuing your calling from God for living today for Him, or are you just existing?” The answer you give to that question will also determine how well or how poorly you survive this summer!
May you be empowered and filled with transcendent joy as you engage in continual thanksgiving with our good Father.
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.