By Irven Lee
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15). The Bible is a good book that points out many things that are good for man and pleasing to God. We should stop to consider all his advice and commands.
Gratitude expressed is obviously a good and pleasant thing. God loved the world and gave his Son that we might be saved. He gave us his word also. By all means, we should be thankful for these great gifts. The earth is the Lord’s, and from it we get food, fiber, wood, minerals, and fuel. Take time to express sincere thanks for the good earth. Should we not also consider the beautiful colors of the different seasons and the songs of the birds? They are not here by accident. Be ye thankful!
I have lived in the USA all of my life and during a time of amazing changes. The freedom to move about and to plan our own lives is a wonderful reason to be glad and to count our blessings that we are Americans. There are many dangers to our spiritual values, and we should have proper concern for ourselves and for our descendants, but we need not overlook the good. I am glad to have lived in America. The strife ridden world does not offer too many places where we might consider living.
My family includes my wife who has been a wonderful help to me. My two daughters and their husbands are faithful and active Christians, and their love is precious to me. My four grandchildren are young adults whose faith is strong in this skeptical world. My only grandson-in-law is the grandson of two whom I baptized in 1940. He is active in church work. Should I not give God thanks for them? The Bible influence is the power that has made their lives beautiful. Are you thankful enough for your family?
The family of God or the church is made up of excellent people, and in preaching in many places I have come to know this to be a fact. There are imperfections within the assemblies. The members are human and are tempted by the world. Let us face every sin among us with boldness, love, patience, and determination to make things better. As we help others improve, let each of us improve. One of the things that has contributed so much happiness to my life is the close association with my brethren. I have faced problems and heartaches in preaching, but there has been much satisfaction in association with the devout saints.
“I praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psa. 139:14). You and I should know right well that the human body is wonderful. The digestive system, the nervous system, and the respiratory system to do their work each day. Each is wonderful beyond words. There are many glands to regulate blood chemistry and many other essential things. Our body temperature remains the same when we are well. Should we not all give thanks? We may take good health for granted until we lose it. Take some time now to give thanks and count your blessings.
We all realize that some do not have such health. We should “visit the sick.” This means more than that we go and sit with them and talk. We are to bear one another’s burdens and help as we can. With age we become weak and have many limitations. Old age is the time in life to look back over the decades to recall the great blessings, and it is also a time to recall things we said and did that were out of place. We all need mercy.
“We all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sinful deeds are not pleasant to recall, but realizing that we have erred makes us look to God for help. His obedient servants are forgiven. Think of our own bodies, nature about us, and the evidence in the Bible and have strong faith. It then should be a natural thing to turn to the Lord in repentance and baptism. We should confess and praise his name again and again. There is no reason to be ashamed of him. He doeth all things well. We seldom hear the name of Jesus mentioned on television and in a typical conversation. Why?
We have not been across the river of death to the new world, but our Lord and his Spirit-guided apostles have told us enough to know that it is a wonderful place to be. Life there will be a gift of God just as this life is a gift from him.
“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak not guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Pet. 3:10). Being a servant of the Lord means much more than being baptized. We are raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). Hope is an anchor to the soul. Let us give thanks for the one hope.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 4, pp. 97, 119
February 18, 1988