Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

November 22, 2017

This morning, I woke up with a Josh Groban song playing in my head:

Some days we forget to look around us
Some days we can’t see the joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give

So, for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day, we hope for
What we still can’t see

It’s up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There’s so much to be thankful for…

          You may have guessed that the title of this song is Thankful.   And, it’s no mystery why this song popped up, being that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and all. You can hear it if you want:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBEI1F22uqE

          Have you ever considered that maybe the greatest gift for which to be thankful is that we don’t have to take life as it comes to us?  Say what?  Each of us has the power to transform life as we live into the narrative of Jesus.   

          What if…what if we chose as our prayer today, “Lord, help me to see this situation differently, from a new point of view!  Lord, please turn on a new light?”

 I was reading a devotion recently and ran across a phrase that I liked.  The author was talking about turning scars into stars. 

So, it got me to thinking…maybe the profound presence of Christ’s love in the world is the gift that deserves the most gratitude.   As I pondered the scars into scars analogy, I remembered all the scars on Jesus after the crucifixion.   

          Jesus returned from the grave and showed Thomas the scars in his hands and on his side.  But here is the deal, he had triumphed over them!

          Jesus was the epitome of the scars into stars metaphor!  He transformed his scars into eternal life!   

          Life will bring with it plenty of turmoil; and, the result is that we won’t make it through this world without quite a few scars.  Yet, through the Holy Spirit there is nothing we cannot rise above.

Christ has the power to turn any scar into a star!  In this process known as sanctification, we are then able to see all of life as a gift. 

          Yes, I know!  Some days it feels as if life is a dangerous journey and we have zero control.  But this notion simply isn’t true. 

          There is an age-old adage that goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  We are faced with an infinite number of crossroads each day; and, we are always free to choose the path of treasure, the one the light of Christ shines upon. 

          But it really does come down to a judgment call.   Sometimes the path that appears to be the one of trash, can in fact be transformed into treasure by learning to recognize hidden potential that can be transformed into gifts. 

          I am betting that in any circumstance we can turn some stones and  find a trove of unexpected treasure!  The Holy Spirit will always enable us to see that there is much more present than meets the eye.  

          Some years ago, I was attending a conference.  To my dismay, I was  seated beside a table-slapper and was stuck there! 

          Do you know what a table-slapper is?  Well, a table-slapper is a loud, obnoxious person who thinks everything is funny and then slaps the conference table as if to accentuate the humor of a statement. 

          It was going to be a long conference.  For the first long while, all I could think about was slapping him!  (I am sort of joking.)

          Instead, out of self-defense, I took a breath and relaxed.  I silently prayed for Christ to show me the gift in this situation. 

          Over time, Christ did just that! The subject matter being covered at the conference changed.

          Table-Slapper and I began to share.  As he opened up, I recognized that he was a fellow believer with an incredibly compassionate heart and he cared deeply for others!

          Furthermore, he continually offered unsolicited praise for his wife. Guys at conferences just do not behave this way.  

          I was intrigued to say the least. After a while, I didn’t really notice the table slapping anymore. 

          By the end of the conference, Table Slapper and I were pals.  He even wrote me at Christmas, enclosing a devotional that he had written that was  was very powerful. I even used the devotional in a Christmas Eve service some years later.

          So, what do we have to be thankful for? How about not having to just take life as it comes but making the decision to be an instrument in transforming it through the power of Christ?

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