Adair P Chapman
As most families in the community were gathering around dining tables for Thanksgiving dinner, I stood with another family and a few friends who had quietly assembled in the small country cemetery to bid an earthly farewell to a young man who died in defense of his country. Down the road, sounds of laughter and exchanged greetings between those who had come for a holiday reunion seemed in cruel contrast with the suppressed sobs of the bereaved.
The simple graveside service was over, and we returned to the house where friends and neighbors had prepared dinner for the family. Sympathetic neighbors could provide food and speak words of comfort, but there was one thing they could not do. They could not fill the empty chair that remained unoccupied during the meal. As the little family ate in silence, the father turned his face and looked through the window toward the hillside where the beautiful floral arrangements would soon wilt, and slowly remarked, “Someday there’ll be a better Thanksgiving.”
The father’s poignant words meaningfully express the Christians’ faith and hope. We must look beyond the present to the everlasting light that will ultimately follow darkness. Someday there will be no sickness and no sorrowful goodbyes. The promise of the Spirit is: “And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death neither sorrow nor crying. Neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
Someday brothers will no longer malign one another and distort truth to accomplish their own selfish purposes. Someday slander and gossip will cease. Someday those who profess to follow Jesus will not present to an unbelieving world a sad spectacle of division among themselves. Someday there will be no cries from the hurting and the forgotten in a world that has no time to care. Someday no little child in America or anywhere else will ask, “Who is Jesus?”
Someday a lonely child of God, and no brother or sister with whom life has dealt severely, will echo the sentiments of David: “. . . no man cares for my soul.” (Psalms 142:4).
It’s a hard world. Still, a rich profusion of God’s sweetest blessings are our daily portion. Someday we’ll have better bodies and a better home (Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:2). Here we have our family and church reunions, but not like the one that is coming (2 Thessalonians 4:17).
“Lord, we are not complaining now. We just think you’ll understand if we occasionally lift our eyes upward in anticipation. “
Someday there will be a better thanksgiving. This old world would be a much better place if we could start working on it now.
Via GO TEACH CHRIST Forest Park Valdosta 11/23/1986
IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE
Maybe you have experienced those whom you gave gifts to, who you thought were not as appreciative as you expected them to be. Did you not notice that in preparation of the gift you felt great satisfaction? Then upon delivery of the gift you felt an inward satisfaction. It’s normal to ponder over the way the recipient of the gift acted.
We have a biblical example of Christ pondering over a gift he gave in the gospel of Luke (Luke 17:11-19). This happened as Christ was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee on the way to Jerusalem. The ten men stood back away from the crowd (as was the law in those days for lepers) and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
He looked at them and said, “Go and show yourselves unto the priests.” The narrative then says, “and it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed.” One of the ten, “when he saw he was healed, turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face at Christ’s feet, giving him thanks.”
Jesus appreciated the fact that this man, identified as a Samaritan, or one not of the regular community, had the gratitude to come back and say, “THANK YOU.” Jesus seemed puzzled, however, that the remainder apparently felt no compulsion to return and express gratitude. Jesus . . . like us, showed his puzzlement at the lack of outward gratitude by the question, “but where are the nine?”
This narrative sets off our imagination. What DID happen to the other nine? Let’s speculate a bit.
Maybe one of them was so excited at being healed that he headed quickly for home and his family with no thought for how he was healed.
Another may have thought, “This is a trick, I’m not really healed. Tomorrow I’ll be back like I was.”
The third may have gone to the priest and was rebuked for going near that faith healer in the first place, so, he just went off and hid in embarrassment.
Maybe another was a good time fellow. I can see him jumping up, clicking his heels, running toward the local tavern and saying, “Wine, women, and song, here I come!”
Another, perhaps, was so overjoyed at being healed that he spent the next few days visiting all the friends and relatives he could find to show how well he was.
Perhaps another went to find some new clothes.
Another may have been a businessman, so he hurried back to see what he could salvage as he started over.
Another many have considered healing as Christ’s just dues to society. After all, he may have been angry at God over being plagued with this illness in the first place.
It could be that another decided to go straight back to the leper colony and help those that were still suffering from the dreaded disease.
Whatever the reason for not returning, these nine people show that even though they received a gift, and were healed in body, they had a serious deficiency in spirt by not being able to express gratitude. It’s not our place to judge, but we can think.
Gratitude may not be as common a virtue as we generally believe. A person has to cultivate the virtue of gratitude.
Some people express gratitude so profusely as to seem insincere. Somewhat like Gomer Pyle with his overwhelming, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!” (For those who do not know what I am talking about you can go to YouTube and look at some of the videos. Isn’t it amazing that I must put this in here? — Tommy)
We must remember a gift given does not place a person in our debt. If the gift is given with the thought to put them in our debt, it’s only a manipulation and deserves no thanks at all. For one to express thanks in such circumstances is only an act of humiliation on their part.
There is nothing better than a simple, direct, sincere “Thank you,” and an equally sincere “You’re Welcome.”
Remember there are good deeds that we may do day by day for which we may not receive any pay, but one thing can be stated with certainty — OUR PAY IS OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Fayetteville Reflections January 1988