ThanksGiving Reflections on “Friends”!

THANKSGIVING REFLECTIONS ON FRIENDS!

Yes, we are commanded to give thanks always for all things [Ephesians 5.20], and we do. But there is also much good and spiritual improvement in having special days and occasions when we put a pause on what so often becomes the mad dashing and rushing of our daily lives and take the opportunity to be more intentional and reflective on thanks-giving.

GOD IS ALWAYS THE OBJECT OF ALL OUR THANKSGIVING

It is true that God Himself is always the supreme and preeminent OBJECT of our thanksgiving, meaning that all our thanks are directed toward God and given to God. That is because God Himself is the Source and Giver of all gifts and benefits.

  • As King David prayed to God in 1 Chronicles 29.14, “…for all things come from You…”
  • And as James said in James 1.17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
  • And as Paul commands Timothy to remind those who are ‘rich in this present age’ in the church, “…God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” ~1 Timothy 6.17.
  • And there are many other such declarations all throughout the Word of God to remind us that, without exception, if we are anything and have anything at all, it is because God has given it to us. “…since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything …for ‘In him we live and move and have our being…’” [Acts 17.25, 28].

THERE ARE MANY SUBJECTS FOR OUR THANKSGIVINGS TO GOD

But, while God is the undisputed and uncontested OBJECT of all our thanksgiving, it is also true that there are many SUBJECTS for thanksgiving. The SUBJECTS of our thanksgiving are those gifts, benefits, graces, and blessings that God so richly, graciously, and generously gives to us ‘to enjoy.’

FRIENDS!

And so, especially today, as I have been reflecting on the so many subjects of my personal thanksgivings to God, the subject that has so flooded my soul is FRIENDS! God has blessed me with so many FRIENDS!

I have lived long enough to have made and kept FRIENDS from my childhood to this day. And through the social media available to us these days, I have been thrilled to re-connect with so many of them from childhood and school days.

There are the FRIENDS we have received from the heart and hand of God over the years of our ministry in and among the Lord’s churches, who have stuck with us and faithfully served with us as fellow laborers, companions, and “true yokefellows” {Philippians 4.3} in close partnership in the Gospel.

And, then, to add to them – there are the multitudes of FRIENDS we have made just in the most recent few years.

I’m sure all of us would agree that 2020 has taught us many lessons. We’ve learned many of those lessons reluctantly, begrudgingly, and against our wills to be sure! But, they have been pressed and impressed upon us. And, for me personally, one of the most prominent and profound lessons that I have been reminded of is just how essential and precious a treasure our friends are to us!

I know, for example, just among the dear folks in our church Sunday School class how often we have said to one another since we were interrupted from meeting together in mid-March of this year: “We know one things for sure … if ever we did, we will never, ever again take for granted our privilege and blessing of being together in person with our brothers and sisters – our FRIENDS!”

We need our friends, we thrive on our friends, we feed off of our friends personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually.

SO, THANK YOU, MY FRIEND … FOR BEING MY FRIEND!

I can’t reach out to each of you specifically and in person – but may I sincerely say to each of you:

“Thank you for being my FRIEND … and when I thank God for my FRIENDS, you are one of them.”

You have served as God’s channel and conduit for the encouragement and enrichment of my soul and life – more than you know, more than I can express – and maybe even more than I, myself, realize! I want to say to you and of you what Paul said to Philemon, “For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother [and sister], because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you”and mine, in particular! [Philemon, verse 7]

Here is my thanksgiving to God and my continuing prayer for you – MY FRIEND!

Philippians 1.3-11 HCSB

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the Gospel. For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

~dsp | 11.26.20 / Thanksgiving Day

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2 Responses to ThanksGiving Reflections on “Friends”!

  1. John Wehrle says:

    Dave, It is certainly blessing to be your (and Debbie’s) friend! God brought us together in a way we could not have imagined before it happened. It’s amazing how some friends become some of your best friends even though you haven’t been friends as long as you have with other friends (I won’t try to say that three times, LOL). Maybe it’s because we’re brothers in Christ which transcends earthly friendship. Interestingly, true friendship requires that both parties acknowledge the bond — thank you for being our friend! John (and Sherry)

    • PastorDave says:

      Ditto everything back to you, John! And, I got that statement about some of your best friends not necessarily being among the friends who have been your friends the longest … I got it the first time I read it! I don’t know what that says about you or me or both of us – but I’ll gladly take it! ~Dave

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