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Connecting Points

What are you thankful for is one of the questions we are asked and try to answer

this time of the year. Perhaps your family has a tradition of posing that question

at your Thanksgiving meal and so you show up with at least one Thanksgiving so

there’s no awkward pause. But I think the pause is a good thing and it invites us

to search our hearts and lives for God’s blessings.

I also think most of us are more thankful for people than material things. I

watched a short interview with the richest person in Alabama and he discounted

the value of his wealth by saying it doesn’t matter as much as we think it does,

because he can only eat three meals a day, drive one car and wear one pair of

pants at a time. I think he was saying that when you have enough, it’s enough

and the overabundance doesn’t’ provide a better or happier life. In fact, those

who have surveyed people have discovered that once your income gets to a

certain level, making more doesn’t add to your well-being. It might provide

security in the way of an emergency fund but your level of contentment remains

the same. The way to increase your joy and well-being at that point isn’t by

getting, but rather, by giving. As you know, Mr. Jimmy Rane, the owner of

YellaWood, has been and is a giver and so he might say you can give more but

you can’t really consume more past a certain level.

I’ve discovered at some Thanksgiving meals what overindulging feels like and it

helps me to own that’s the feeling created by making me the one and only focus

of what I have or have been given. I feel bloated, not blessed at that point.

Those who are smarter than me call that the reality of diminishing returns. The

first piece of cake is delicious. The second piece might be good but the third

makes me miserable. One of the ways we know that enough is enough is by

giving. We give thanks to God for what we have received. But we also live our

thanks by giving. So Thanksgiving leads us to Thanks-living. And both of them

remind us of what really matters and that’s people. The song B.J. Thomas (and

the children) used to sing said it like this: “Using things and Loving people,

that’s the way it's got to be. Using things and Loving people, look around and

you can see... that loving things and using people only leads to misery. Using

things and loving people, that’s the way it got to be; for you and me!”

Now... Pass the Turkey,

Pastor Dean

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