1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Do you remember a moment in which a story cut you straight to the heart? As you most likely know, I’m a storyteller! So I can point to many stories that have stuck with me over the years. The story at the beginning of Mary Jo Leddy’s book, Radical Gratitude is one for me.
Leddy has written this book that we are reading together as a congregation (you can get your copy at the OneSent Market). Her story resonates with me because I have shared some similar experiences.
Leddy writes about how she welcomed a persecuted immigrant into her home. The woman, only a few hours into her arrival in North America, asked a question, pointing out into Leddy’s backyard. “Who lives in that house?” It took a while for Leddy to figure out what was being asked. But then, as if for the first time, she saw her detached garage. Leddy struggled for the words to describe it. “It is a… house for… a car.” This persecuted immigrant, who had never lived in a building so fine, was at a loss – as was Leddy. “A house for a car.”
I can attest to how amazing it is to see our lives anew from a third-world perspective. I have hosted folks who have nothing akin to the privilege I take for granted each day. My family of origin has seemed perplexed as to why I travel the world engaging with our mission partners. Why? Because they show me how much I have and how flawed my paradigms are. I spend far too much time being sour and spoiled. My third-world friends have so much less in material things, but their joy is irrepressible.
The apostle Paul says that we should give thanks, no matter what. His Greek word for thanksgiving has both grace and joy at its root. His message is clear. God’s grace brings an orientation of joy that is lived out in gratitude. I long for this perspective and pray that I may secure it.
Is there a story that cuts you to the core and calls you to reflect? Maybe you can find one? I encourage you to look in your garage.
Gracious God, thank you for loving me even when I fail to live with gratitude in my heart. Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Bouvier
Pastor Greg heard God’s call to Sheridan in 1999 and that began a journey which has become his life’s work. Having played a variety of roles as pastor of Sheridan, Pastor Greg was called as the Senior Pastor in 2011. He now leads the staff and his primary focus is on the creation of culture, the overall direction of worship and partnering with our amazing team.
Pastor Greg has been married to Rose for more than 30 years and together they have two servant-hearted grown children.