I Give Thanks

by Rev. Jerry Chiles

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.                                 

 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NIV)

There are times when I just want to walk away. It seems like I am bombarded from all sides. It is hard to believe the light at the end of the tunnel is a good light and not a train bearing down on me!

It is in these times God reminds me of my calling. He also reminds me that my strength comes from him and not myself. He reminds me how much I am loved and what I have accomplished for Him. He puts his arms around me and holds me close.

When this happens, I begin to see the positive things in my life and ministry for which I am thankful.

I am thankful for my family and the way we love and care for each other. It is not perfect, and we don’t always agree, but love is the foundation of our relationships.

I am thankful for a church that is seeking to discover where God is wanting us to go. Are there dissenters? Yes. Are we there yet?  No. We are beginning to raise our light to see better.

I am thankful for the lessons we learned from the COVID-19 crisis. I am sad for families who lost members to this dreaded virus, and I am sad for those who have lingering effects. It tested our metal as individuals and as a church. It helped us discover what is most important about the church. While meeting together is biblical, it showed us meeting together did not have to be in person and relationships make up the body of the church. It enabled us to see that while many did not return to church, they still want to be connected online.

I am thankful for church ministers and the ways they ventured into new territory to provide online worship, Zoom meetings for committees, prayer times etc. They gave above and beyond what seems to be humanly impossible, while experiencing the stress of their own families.  I am thankful they are willing to venture into the future, seeking God’s leading and leaving some things behind.

I am thankful for lay people who never seem to quit. They are upbeat and are seeking to be God’s voice, hands, and feet in a difficult world. They are willing to give and hold each other up.

I am thankful for so much. I encourage you to pause in your busy and bombarded life and give thanks for what you have and have been given.

These thoughts are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. Contact him for more information about how he can help you.

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