BY REV. DR. BRANDON MORROW - GOOD NEWS COMMUNITY CHURCH IN OKOBOJI
In the Heidelberg Catechism —Question and Answer 22 — it asks the question: "What must a Christian believe?" To which it gives the answer: "Everything God promises us in the gospel."
You should be reading this sometime after Thanksgiving, the very day that is so commonly promoted as the day in which we must give thanks, or to count our blessings, or to get too hyped up on tryptophan — whenever you read this, or whatever you do around Thanksgiving, the culture has invited us into a world of gratitude. Much like the dreaded question, "What are your hobbies?" is the question, "What are you thankful for?"Ě
We struggle to name the things for which we ought to be thankful: Salvation in Jesus, freedoms that are particular to North Americans — maybe it is good health or the fact that you could gorge yourself on a plump bird. Even though we can easily compile a list in this article, it is always difficult to name what we're thankful for, let alone have gratitude as one of our primary disciplines.
Typically, I am one to say we don't have enough to be thankful for, but I've come to realize that isn't the issue. Perhaps we have too much to be thankful for.
For a follower of Jesus, this is certainly the case. What is it that we're to be thankful for? Return to the above answer: "Everything God promises us in the gospel."
Where do we even begin in accounting for all of things that God promises us in the message of His Good News? We could begin in the promise of our salvation in Christ — that there's a hope in store for us. We could even mention how Jesus will return like a wild west sheriff, and He's going to clean up this mess of a world just by the words of His mouth. We could mention the eradication of disease, loss, suffering and the absence of tears of grief. Maybe it's just mentioning that we have forgiveness of our sins in the here and now, freeing us from whatever shame, regret or deep sense that something is wrong with us.
For the follower of Jesus, it's not an issue of not having anything to be thankful for, it's a question of: "Where on earth do I begin?"