Friday, October 28, 2005

The Nugget, Nov 2005

“When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadow
and look out upon the beautiful world,
I think God I am alive.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

November is the month of gratitude.

With gratitude we share in our stewardship campaign this month. No other motivation is sufficient for the promises we make. Yes, the needs are great; yes, giving has been falling off some in recent months; and yes, there will be some special expenditures in the coming year related to the Search Process. But, the best reason to give and to pledge to the church is still a grateful heart, a heart that has known and that appreciates the love of God and church.

With gratitude I want to express how much I appreciate being able to serve you as your Interim Pastor. This first six months that Cindy and I have been with you have made me very thankful for this congregation and the wonderful life that we share together.

Barbara Cartland, in the “Book of Useless Information,” reports that in 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris and was missing for two years. In those two years, more people came to the museum and stared at the blank space on the wall than had viewed the masterpiece in the previous 12 years!

That may indeed seem like a bit of useless information, but maybe not. Because our lives are filled with treasures that we sometimes fail to appreciate until they are no longer there. Then we can only wonder why we did not appreciate them more.

As Thanksgiving approaches, take a moment to ponder the wonders of life all around you that often go unnoticed, and say a prayer of gratitude to God. Do something to show your appreciation to your friends, your church, your neighbors, your family. Appreciate your health, the gift of this day, the beauty of creation and the other masterpieces of God’s making that exist in the world around you.

It was the habit of the Apostle Paul, in writing to churches, to remind them that he continually thanked God for them. Paul knew the importance of prayers of gratitude. Our prayers are often little more than prayers of requests. We sometimes find the whole matter of prayer unexciting or ineffective because we assume it just means asking for things!

The prayer of thanksgiving is the noblest prayer of all. It puts us in a reflective frame of mind. It focuses our attention on good things rather than the negative. It can chase away the critical spirit. It lifts our hearts and broadens our horizons. It gives us a sense of spiritual and emotional well being.
George Herbert wrote,

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more
– a grateful heart;
Not grateful when it pleaseth me
As if they blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.

Be thankful and treasure the Mona Lisa’s in your life.
Steve Shepard
Interim Pastor