It’s Thanksgiving Day 2016 and this is what I am thankful for
As I pondered what to write in this blog I kept coming back to Thanksgiving and what I am thankful for. I also did a little research on some respected men from church history to see what they thanked God for. There are so many things for which to be thankful if I stopped to write them all down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the list and explanations of all the things for which I am thankful (I tried to paraphrase John 21:25). But the point is there are so many things I take for granted every day for which I should be thankful, it seems an insurmountable task to list them all.
Sort of keeping up on the theme of 3 bullet Thursday on this Thanksgiving
I simply decided to tell 3 things for which I am thankful then give you a link to read a short article on a Thanksgiving Day sermon from Jonathan Edwards. Here are the 3 things for which I am thankful: Faith, Family, and Friends (although those of you who know me could add a 4th, which would be Food, but that’s another blog post).
My faith is extremely important to me. I tried to thank God daily not only for His love, mercy, and grace but specifically the love that sent His Son to die a horrible death to deal with my sins. I spend some time every day pondering the mysteries of Christianity. I attempt to filter all of my life through the lens of God and His world.
My family is another thing that I am thankful for. I grew up with a Christian mom and dad who tried to instill in me the importance of seeking after and living for the God of the universe. Also have brothers and a sister with whom God has blessed me. I enjoy their fellowship and interaction. My wife is the most wonderful woman on the planet for me. She keeps me grounded and gives unconditional love. My 2 children are a blessing who have taught me much about myself and my shortcomings.
My friends are a Godsend that I do not take lightly. Each of them shows me something to which I should and can aspire: whether it be more study of the Bible, or more passion for family, or more compassion for the needy. I cherish the times spent in conversation and dialogue.
I could go on and on and on and on and on, but I won’t
As mentioned earlier I could go on about the innumerable blessings God has given me and then ponder a deeper question, which is Why has he blessed me so much, but I will stop here.
A short description of a Thanksgiving sermon by Jonathan Edwards
As I was researching people from church history and what they said about giving thanks, I came across an article from Christianity Today from several years ago that gives a link to a sermon by Jonathan Edwards on Thanksgiving and then summarized the sermon. I thought this was a very good article so here is the link, enjoy. http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2009/november/edwards-ian-thanksgiving.html
Due to my natural affinity toward theology and scholarship I often neglect discussions of missionaries (unless they are also theologians). For whatever reason I am not drawn to the significance and impact of missionaries throughout the world. So in order to rectify this situation I decided to write about a man now known as ‘the father of modern missions’, William Carey.
A poor cobbler and a poor cobbler
William Carey was born in England northwest of London in 1761. Due to his family’s lower income and a childhood illness he chose to apprentice a shoemaker. He showed very little aptitude for cobbling but as he grew older and married hoped he could do it well enough to pay for food for his family. During his time as a shoemaker he was able to teach himself biblical Greek.
A poor teacher
Carey realized that he had an aptitude for languages, teaching himself Greek, Hebrew, Latin and several other languages. He started a school hoping to inspire students to learn the languages that were so important to himself. It ended up, however, that he did worse at teaching than he did at shoemaking.
A poor pastor
So he changed occupations once again and became a Particular Baptist pastor. He succeeded less with pastoring than with teaching. So William Carey could have been seen (or seen himself) as a failure, but the struggles are not over.
After reading about the exploits of Captain Cook in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), he had a conviction that the church had an obligation to proclaim the news of Jesus Christ to the unreachable people of the world. Many of his friends tried to discourage him from going on the mission field because they thought ‘if God’s wants the heathen saved he does not need you’. Carey replied, “expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!” He started a missions agency to send people across the world to share the Gospel, and he went with a doctor friend to India.
A poor missionary?
The journey to India and the subsequent life were very difficult. The doctor partner of Carey’s left the mission early on, taking all the money. Personally Carey had one struggle after another: 2 children died, the doctor took off with their funds, he contracted malaria, and his wife battled depression and had to be restrained. Throughout all of these hard times William Carey said, “I can plod”. He was convinced of his mission for Jesus yet his efforts were not showing much results, but he kept on plodding away and thousands of lives were changed. In India he also helped people in the lowest caste system to get them out of their poverty.
“Seventy-six years after William Carey’s death, more than 1,200 missionaries from 160 mission boards met in Edinburgh, England. By that time, the number of Christian ministers living outside Europe and the Americas had increased more than one thousand percent.” (Christian History Made Easy by Dr. Timothy Jones, page 152).
Father of modern missions – missionary in India
Taught himself several (at least 5) languages – so translated the New Testament into 24 native languages of India
“I can plod” – kept plodding his way spreading the Gospel, in the midst of much struggle and hardship.
Please give me comments and suggestions for topics.