Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever (1 John 2:15-17, Common English Bible).
This is part 17 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.
I have a lot of stuff. I am one of the few people I know who loves ties. I don’t wear them, at least most of the time, more than once a week. And, with the exception of weddings and funerals, I don’t wear them during the summer at all. It’s just too hot in Texas. At that rate I think I could go about four years and never wear the same tie twice.
I also like my guitars as I have already said elsewhere in this blog. I have six and can think of at least three more I would like to have and truth be told, if I had those three there would be more added to my list. My mother likes to remind me I can only play one at a time. I respond that while that is true, most of them have different sounds. One is a straight up electric guitar. Another has steel strings. One is a base. The remaining three do sound much the same but they all live in three different places where I spend a lot of time.
If you walk into my study, either at the parsonage or at the church (to a lesser degree our retirement home) you will see lots of lighthouses and even more books. I enjoy all these things and probably several more.
Like I said, I have a lot of stuff. And truth to tell, I have a lot of stuff I really don’t “need.” It is all stuff I want. It is all stuff I like having around and it means something to me.
I am thankful for all my stuff, even if I don’t really need it. My ties are something I like and having at least a few goes with expectations of my job. I know there are preachers who don’t wear ties even as often as I, but there are times when we are expected to wear a tie. I could probably cut 75 percent of my ties from my wardrobe (or more) and still be fine. But then, I might be saying, “I don’t have a thing to wear.”
I could get by with one guitar. The real truth is, I don’t have to have one at all. Still I am glad I do have them. They provide food for my soul. It is something I enjoy.
Today I am asking that we pass the sweet potatoes. I know that sweet potatoes are a staple at many Thanksgiving tables. People make them into casseroles and pies. Others have various other ways of preparing them. I have a sister-in-law, Cindy (yes, one of Cindy’s brothers married a woman named Cindy, go figure) who makes probably the best sweet potato dish I have ever eaten. She has never told me what all is in it and honestly I don’t think I want to know. All she has said in my presence is, “Those sweet potatoes are bad, they aren’t very good for you.” Well, I don’t care. If Cindy’s sweet potatoes are there, I’m eating at least some of them.
Sweet potatoes are something I eat a lot. Being diabetic, they are much better for me than white potatoes. Usually I eat them prepared in a pretty simple way, baked with a little butter and cinnamon sprinkled on them. Far more often than not, the sweet potatoes I eat are a simple dish.
While I am thankful for all the things I have in my life, I also recognize they are all just things. And, things can be taken away. Things are something I can lose. Things are something that can break. In the end, things really don’t mean that much.
While I am thankful for all of that, today’s post is really more about simple things. These are things I would find it a great deal harder to live with out. Today I want to remember to be thankful for the simple things in my life as these are often the things I take for granted.
I am thankful for things like food and water. There are so many people today that don’t have those or don’t have those in the quantities I have them. I am not worried about my next meal. I am not worried about whether I will have water to drink today.
I am thankful for the air I breathe. I am not a person who waives the “Green” banner particularly high but I do recognize if we fail to take care of it, if we take it too much for granted, air might be something of which we rediscover the hard way just how important it is.
I am thankful for the love of family and friends. Without that love there are days it would be difficult at best to even get out of bed. I cannot take that love for granted.
Finally, I am thankful for the love of God and the faith God has placed in my heart. Like so much else, love and faith are both something that all too often we look past and take for granted. God above all, is someone who shouldn’t neglect but all too often I do.
Because so often, I eat sweet potatoes that are prepared in a simple way, they remind me of the simple things. The things I need in my life, the things I can’t live without but the things that all too often I neglect and take for granted.
So, would someone please pass the sweet potatoes. I need a reminder to be thankful for the simple things of my life.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved