Fellowship at the Ranch – November 2014

Jim Wilkins

Sometimes we escape the whole concept of Thanksgiving using the same fervor with which we have commercially extorted Christmas. We use the word “thanksgiving” as a euphemism for a whole day of gathering the family clan together to eat, drink and be merry watching football from dawn to dusk. Only in America where “plenty” is synonymous with “successful” is the word “thanksgiving” so obliterated from its actual meaning. Giving thanks implies you thank someone for something. For example, you thank someone for being your friend, you thank someone for being kind, you thank someone for their gracious care and visible concern. Beyond that giving thanks should take on a more global scope. Even as I say this someone reading this will say, “Yeah, I’m thankful I don’t live in an impoverished third world country riddled by disease or dictatorial regimes.” You should be.

But who exactly would you thank for these privileges? Would you walk next door and thank the Navy pilot who sacrificed years of his life to protect your freedom? Would you take the time on your next doctor visit to simply look your physician in the eye and say thank you for all the time they sacrificed to learn the science behind fighting disease and keeping you alive? I suggest that when we live “thankless” lives, we rob ourselves and we rob others of the joy found in this simple communication. It’s only two words. “Thank You.”

Have you ever eaten at Chic-fil-A? If you have, and after being served you say these two simple words, “thank you,” what you’ll discover is that without fail you will hear in return, “It’s my pleasure.” Pleasure of doing what exactly? Every employee is trained to answer “thank you,” with “it’s my pleasure,” with the implication to “I’m happy to serve you.” It is a service oriented company. They take great pleasure in meeting your need for food, treating you with kindness, handling any problems with your order, and generally making eating at their restaurant a “thankful” experience.

Now imagine the Creator of the universe, having given you life and breath, placing you in a country of plenty, with opportunity for education, employment, healthcare and freedom of worship. Imagine this Creator looking down on those who have benefitted from all this blessing but have never even said “thank you.” What would that Creator feel? Would it break His heart? Would He yearn just to hear these two simple words?

Now imagine the Creator of the universe, listening to someone who has recognized the great privilege God has given to those of us living in the United States of America. See Him as He listens to the grateful heart, the heartfelt expression of undying affection, that simply says, “Thank You God.” Do you wonder His response? Does it give you pause to think the Creator might actually desire to be recognized in this way? I suggest the words you would hear are not unlike those spoken every day at Chic-fil-A.

“It’s my pleasure.”

Jim Wilkins is the Pastor of Fellowship at the Ranch. We meet each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the clubhouse.