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Lavish

This season of giving thanks always reminds me of bounty. The colors of burnt umber (How I love Crayola’s original color names!) painted on a cerulean canvas create soul sparks of thanksgiving that fly heavenward!

Pumpkin aromas waft upward through our log cabin, infusing our home with warmth and richness. They too draw my heart to inhale and ruminate on the goodness of the everyday, the seemingly mundane. How often do I wander through abundance and not acknowledge the sheer extravagance?
Do I see the artistry of an evening’s sunset or rush off to get somewhere without pause or reflection? Have I consider all the Lord has lavished on me? Lavish, by definition, means “to expend or bestow profusely.” Such an over-the-top word gets limited play in today’s speech. It may even sound stuffy to some. But yet..

The lavishness of autumn reawakens  me to a spectacular truth that outshines even the beauty of fall:

“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Eph 1:7-8

This wood carving at Leheman’s Hardware in Dalton, Ohio, reminds me that God’s lavish grace had an unimaginable cost. With bowed head, I offer a prayer of thanks.

God-centered or Man-centered?

While at worship in Statesboro, Georgia this morning, I thought about the way I express thanks at this time of year when we gather around the Thanksgiving table. Most thoughts cast a look back at the people, blessings and lessons of the past year(s). Always a stickler for supporting details instead of mere generalizations, I have added several times this month to a list of specifics in my prayer journal. A sovereign God has allowed family, friends, teachers, choir directors, pastors and neighbors to walk alongside me, and for them, I am thankful. Around the people, God has swirled events and lessons in His work of making me look more and more like Jesus. Yet, the bulk of my thanksgiving centers on the past and on me. But what about giving thanks to God for the present and future?

Each day I need to thank God for His strength in my life, calling upon Him as my great physician and asking Him to superintend my day’s activities, my heart, my tongue. I also should remember to thank God that His presence to guide me offers tangible proof of  my daily need for direction and His kind willingness to lead. How aware am I of thanking God daily? Do I presume on grace? As the apostle Paul puts it, “May it never, never be.” So I will think more of thanking God in the present.

I also want to thank God for the future, captured in the youthfulness of Little Stuff as she stood by the duck pond on Saturday. Only in Jesus Christ can I offer

hope to her and to those God brings into my life this coming year. Whether princes and countries rise or fall, whether the economy rebounds or continues in a slump, whether I know pain or good health, the sovereign Lord holds all peoples and events in His gracious hands. How I thank Him for the assurance of the future.

As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I will endeavor to make the day one that focuses more on God than man. How?  By casting a concentrated look at things present and future and thanking God for them.