Stories of Stewardship and Gratitude: Thanksgiving Day

By Wendy Gustafson


Deep summer. The air is hot and heavy. My heart is hot and heavy too. I’ve spent weeks burdened with worry and what-ifs about a mountain of things I can do nothing about. I try to distance myself from the hot mess. I try to think of something else. Creeping worry starts small and grows. It starts far off and comes closer and closer. It starts undefined and begins to harden into something I can’t handle. Say goodbye to sleep. Say hello to crankiness and the inability to remember anything!

What to do? I declare this morning that it is Thanksgiving Day! I carry my journal or at least a piece of paper and a pencil in my pocket. I write down every thanksgiving that comes to mind. I write them down one after another. I send them heavenward. I alternate writing and reading them, reading and writing them. There are more. How much paper will I use? I re-read them and add and add and re-read.


Soon it is bedtime and here is my record of God’s action in my own particular life for just this one day. Look at this list! There are so many thanksgivings! There are so many thanksgivings that there is no room for what-ifs, no room for thoughts about complex issues I have no control over; no, just this list as tangible evidence of God’s intent to draw close to me and bless me where I am, how I am today, Thanksgiving Day.


By sundown I am so full of grace (instead of turkey) that I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.


I need to make every day Thanksgiving Day and then put those blessings to work. When I am free of worry and self-concern, I have brain space to look for ways that I can be a blessing. Give those worries to God. God is the only One who can fix all that I see wrong with the world.


What does that look like, me being a blessing? It looks like me looking for places to serve, places to give, and ways to make a difference. It looks like me being aware of other people’s needs right here where I am, right here where I live. Are you lost in the rabbit warren of Twin Lakes? Where are you headed? Let me show you how to get to Art for Everyone.


It looks like me dropping in at Matthew 25 Ministries and working for a couple of hours folding fitted sheets and sending up thanksgivings that I don’t need any of the things that are being processed, packed, and shipped all over the country and the world.


It looks like me writing a check every month made out to “God or St. Barnabas Church” that gets used to advance God’s agenda here and in the wider community.


I am blessed to be a Blessing. That’s why I tithe.


Spend a day with paper and pencil. Have new eyes for God’s presence and action in your life. Record your thanksgivings for a day. Read and re-read, and then, sure of God’s love and care, write out your pledge card and tithe.


You’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

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