I’m sure that many who read this can immediately think of at least one person who guided them toward God when they were a child, but some do not have that person. A couple weeks ago I attended a Sunday school teacher meeting that was led by our very wise and inspirational director Marlin. She started the meeting by quizzing us. In the end she revealed her quiz was a tool to help us reflect on what an important role we play in the lives of the children at our church and to recognize that the mark we leave is much more memorable than what team has won the most World Series. As I sat there reflecting on those who shined God’s light on my life, I was touched to the point of tears.
I reflected on my past teachers, both at church and in school, on my mentors, friends, and family members who showed me the way to salvation. So often we forget to thank those who molded us into the Christ ambassadors we are today. What an honor it is to stand side by side with my fellow Sunday school teachers knowing that when little Micah or Anny are in their thirties they might remember what little piece of God I shared with them. You see, you may not get to see the seed you sowed grow into a sky-scraping redwood, but you do get the satisfaction of knowing that you planted that seed and it has a better chance of growing just being in the soil.
This season of Thanksgiving I have tried to take the opportunity to thank those who have sowed the Chelsea seed. They did not just throw me into the soil of the gospel to let me roll around in it on my own. They joyfully got their hands dirty along with me, sharing all they knew of God’s love, forgiveness, salvation, all of God’s character. Because they did that, even though I have had times of wandering, I always come back to where they led me…to the foot of Jesus.
Thank you to the woman who came to my house when I was only a child to teach my mom about the Bible. You planted a seed that has nourished my family ever since. I am forever grateful.
Please leave your notes of thanksgiving to the people in your life who planted a seed of faith in your heart. I’d love to hear (or read) your notes of thanks.
I’ve been going through the book Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden for the past five weeks with a small group at my church. Lesson 5 is on prayer. Frankly it was a difficult lesson for me. Many questions arose regarding supplication, however what I want to discuss tonight is the T in the ACTS format of prayer. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In short, adoration is thanking God for who He is. Confession is, of course, admitting to God the sins we have committed, asking for forgiveness, and repenting (turning away from that sin). Thanksgiving, I’ll get into in a minute. Supplication is interceding for ourselves and others to ask for God’s will to be done.
In his book Ogden describes the reasoning behind why we should give thanks to God for not only WHO He is but for WHAT He has DONE. He says that by recalling those things God has given us or done for us we cultivate a memory. The definition of cultivation is to try to acquire or develop. Like putting together a photo album we are repeating, sometimes aloud, all the good things God has done. And like a photo the memory sticks a little better when you reflect on it. Several years ago my family, primarily my mom, interviewed my grandparents so that we could put their story down on paper. As they recalled fond memories you could see the expressions of joy, hear the laughter, and get a true sense of the emotion behind the story. When we reflect on the good God gives us we not only cultivate a memory, but we prolong the joy and the gratitude.
There is a reason why we thank God before we intercede for ourselves and others. As one of my small group members said today the ACT in ACTS helps us shift our focus to God’s perspective. By the time we get to Supplication our perspective is changed and our prayer is more in line with God’s will. So I will end by asking, what are you thankful for today? Tell God and see what memories you can cultivate.