Did we reserve the turkey? Do we have enough place settings? Is my flight going to leave on time? Is my dad going to tell embarrassing stories like last year? What about your uncle’s girlfriend’s kids? Don’t forget the cranberry sauce! Do we have time to swing by the grandparent’s before going to mom & dad’s?
Is any of that running through your head this week? Thanksgiving is basically here, and I know I have way too much to do before I can relax with family and turkey on Thursday. And they’re calling for snow, too?!
This morning a lot of similar questions were bouncing around my head, and I started to get that feeling of “there’s not enough time!” Before doing anything, though, I forced myself to sit down with Jesus. I found myself diving deep into the first half of Colossians 1 and was specifically convicted by verses three through six:
“3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth…”
As I was reading Paul’s letter, I walked through these verses, checking the things off that applied to me: “faith in Jesus Christ,” check. “hope laid up in heaven,” check. “the gospel which has come to [me],” check. “understood the grace of God in truth,” check! But what about my love for the saints and bearing fruit?
I just couldn’t check those points off the “list” that I bolded above. Thanksgiving is a time of year where having a conversation about thankfulness and love should be easy to do. Yet I’m caught up in my head, trying to make sure my plans for the week work out smoothly. I’m “too busy” to love on my brothers/sisters in Christ and try to share the gospel with those who don’t know Him.
Does this hit home for you? I came up with some ideas this morning in response to my conviction. I wrote down some ways that we can try to be a bit more missional over these next couple days and weeks:
- Give thanks, specifically. When all 17 of my extended family sits down for the Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, my dad will ask everyone to share what they are thankful for. I plan to specifically give thanks for “the hope laid up for [me] in heaven” because I want the family members who don’t share that hope to be reminded that they too can have it.
- Intentional invitations. Do you have a lonely neighbor or a friend who’s family is out of town? Consider inviting them over to share Thanksgiving with you. My wife and I are bringing our friends from Australia to Thanksgiving with us (despite the fact that my grandpa might tell lame jokes).
- Food donations. The Light House in Annapolis is a homeless prevention center and has needs for canned goods, bagged lunches, and toiletries. They have volunteer needs sometimes, too. Give them a call and see how you can serve them this season: 410-349-5056.
- Persistent prayer. Oswald Chambers says, “We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” We saw that played out in Paul’s letter. Pray for the people at church, the family you’ll be with this week, the people who won’t be with their family, and the people who don’t know Jesus. I’m going to spend a lot of time praying this season.
Have a great Thanksgiving! I’m praying for you.