Truly thinking about thankfulness

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am participating in a community Thanksgiving service this year. The idea through a local ministerial association is to have four to five pastors and ministers share for five minutes or less beginning with this phrase, "I am thankful for..."

Now, first of all I have never heard a pastor of any denomination speak for less than five minutes. I have listened to many who after five minutes wished they would have stopped, but never one who voluntarily stopped in less than five minutes. So this should be interesting.

Second, this assignment has forced me to think about things that I am truly thankful for.

Obviously, I am thankful for my family, my church and readers. Yet this assignment has forced me to think beyond the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving list of thankfulness. So here we go:

I am thankful for words. Thankful for the word who became flesh and dwelled among us. Thankful for Jesus the Word of God who gave light to men. I'm also thankful for other words. Words spoken with a grain of salt to show grace. Words such as "stand firm," "be of good courage," "thank you," "forgive me" and "I forgive you."

I am thankful for feeling those moments that are vital. The small moments that create a lifetime of memories. Moments of driving my kids to school. The routine with my 3-year-old son who waves to me every day from the window of his preschool after I drop him off. Those moments that I fear will become rare of my now preteen daughter so excited to tell me what happened at school today. I'm more thankful for the small moments rather than the big ones. The small ones add up over time. They make a greater deposit of which to withdraw from later.

I am thankful for lifelong friends. Twice this year I'e been able to sit with friends I haven't seen in years. These are conversations that picked up right where we left off. We've gotten older. Our kids have gotten taller. With every turn the friendships have grown sweeter.

This assignment has been so good for me. God has blessed me richly. The car is quickly approaching 200,000 miles. The toilets clog and leak more than I ever thought they would and the budget seems to get tighter every month. But I am richly blessed.

I am thankful for God bringing the small, the big, the ups and the downs that have come my way this year and His faithfulness in them all.

Love God, work hard, rest well.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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