Contending… Part 2

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Contending..., Podcasts


ON TOP OF THE FENCEPOST – Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?” Alex Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.”

That’s the basis of thankfulness. Remembering that i had help to get where ever i think i am. Despite the highest standard of living in the history of humanity, people seem driven by an insatiable desire for more, better and faster. Just when i should feel most satisfied, i find myself bored and disillusioned. The problem is not that things are so bad, but that i have lost a gift called thankfulness.

The word urges me to maintain a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances. Not as a gift to God, but as a gift from God. He doesn’t need my thanks, but i desperately need reminders that i am His. Unfortunately, i was born with a tendency toward greed, envy and other addictions that encourage discontent. In order to contend for thankfulness or anything else for that matter I must be in the game. Too often i am sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting for God to do His thing. When He does i may or may not chime in with an act of thankfulness.

  • Thankfulness is a learned discipline that goes a long way toward curing my discontent.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “ed give thanks in all your circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

i wonder how many times i have been offended at Jesus? Only seeing Him as the One who didn’t give enough or love according to my desires. How many times has my heart been wounded by hurt and pain and filled with blame toward Him for my perceived “lesser than” status in the kingdom or community i live and serve in? Paul describes this journey, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Rom. 1:21-22).

Here’s a story to make those words more clear.

There’s the story of a woman who was getting ready to jump off a 44 story building in New York City.

Witnesses said that she did not look like the type of person who would do such a thing. She was very distinguished and well dressed.

All the attempts made by the police to get the woman off the ledge had failed.

One of the officers asked if he could call his pastor in to see if he could help. When the pastor arrived, he asked permission to go to the ledge and talk to the woman.

As the pastor neared the edge the woman screamed, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!”

The pastor took a step back and then said, “I am sorry that you believe no one loves you.”

This got the woman’s attention and it got the attention of the police. That was something that you don’t usually say to a person who is threatening suicide.

The woman took a step towards the pastor and said, “My grandchildren love me and so does my children. My whole family loves me! I have 8 wonderful grandchildren and they love me.”

The pastor took a step towards the woman and said, “Well then, you must be very poor, maybe that is why you want to take your own life.”

The woman who was a little overweight said, “Do I look like I go without any meals? We live in a very nice apartment. I’m not poor.”

The pastor took another step closer to her and was now 3 feet from her when he asked, “Then why do you want to kill yourself? I don’t understand.”

The woman thought for a moment and then said, “You know, I don’t really remember.”

The story ends with the pastor and the woman walking towards the elevator as she shows him pictures of her grandchildren. Eventually this woman becomes a volunteer on the city’s suicide hotline, helping others choose life.

What did the pastor do to help this woman?

He helped her get her eyes off herself and onto the many ways that God had blessed her.

She learned a valuable lesson that day. She learned that thankful people are happy people.

i do not want God to look at me as not being thankful, that i had become futile in my thoughts, and my foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, but became a fool.

If i don’t learn anything else today, i hope it would be just that. Thankful people are happy people.

  1. Keith DiPascal says:

    Good Morning Dr. Ed: Thank you for helping me remember that I am THANKFUL & HAPPY

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