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Practicing Grateful Rest

Let us be grateful for God’s blessings and rest in God’s presence.

Introduction

As we come to the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we often think about what we are thankful for. We think about how the year has gone and reflect on how God has blessed us. Recently, I was exchanging emails with a friend as we were talking about a project that we work on each year and both admitted that we were feeling guilty about how well our 2020s had gone. She noted that her family was wealthy, her husband’s ministry was going well, and her research and writing was continuing to flourish. And as I thought about it, I realized that it has been a good year:

  • I have been offered a number of writing projects.
  • I have spoken at two workshops on online teaching.
  • I am part of a fellowship and have been appointed to our Christian camp’s board.
  • I have been consulting with congregations and coaching ministers.
  • I have even been offered a commentary on 1-3 John!
  • My family is healthy, the college has been relatively spared by the pandemic, and our congregation is managing well.

And, yet, I stand here in front of our camera and am preaching, once again, to an empty audience. There are only three others in the building this morning—my family—and only a total of six people on our entire campus this morning, as a couple are preparing our drive-thru Thanksgiving meal over in the Family Life Center. The pandemic is engulfing our area. We struggle to both stay safe and help others recognize the severity of the pandemic. In addition, so much anxiety and chaos continues to swirl around the election and civil unrest abounds on each side of the political aisle.

And, this week, we come to a national holiday that is about thankfulness, gratitude, family, and unity. Thanksgiving is not a holy day. In the church calendar ...

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Rob O’Lynn teaches preaching at Kentucky Christian University, Johnson University, and Fuller Theological Seminary, and is a minister in Ashland, Kentucky.

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