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Always Be Thankful -- a reflection on gratitude, by Dick Clark

Pastor Scott’s father, Dick Clark, regularly shares devotions with family and friends. He’s shared this one with the First Pres San Anselmo family, with a word of thanks and a word of encouragement to be grateful in all things.

Always Be Thankful

Do you still send handwritten thank you notes? I usually don’t, Carol does most of them for us. I wrote a few as a child, but I cannot remember why. Maybe my mother made me, I can’t remember – I wish she was still around to ask. Maybe it was a writing assignment from school… All I really know is that it was a real chore for me when I was a child.

When I went into the Air Force, I found myself (almost immediately and throughout my entire career) writing notes of gratitude, thanks, and recognition for a job well done. I even had some special stationary printed up to make the message more personal. To be honest, I would much rather congratulate or thank someone personally eye to eye, but through the years, I found out how much it means to receive them in writing.

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he reminds the people of several things:

· To encourage each other and build each other up.

· To honor those who are leaders in the Lord’s work.

· To think highly of them and give them wholehearted love because of their work.

· And no matter what happens, to always be thankful.

I want today’s devotion to be one of “thankfulness.” Consider this to be a “thank you note” from me to those I love and cherish. Those who have been with me during the past several months praying, feeding, calling and/or visiting (some from afar), sending cards, encouraging, building up … all these things and more – even though we haven’t been able to worship and meet in person. What an example you all have set for each and every one of us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It is God’s will that we always “be thankful,” and “give thanks in ALL circumstances.” Not sometimes but always thankful and not just in the circumstances we like.

Colossians 3:15-17 reads “…And be thankful…with gratitude in your heart…do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God…” (NIV)

So, the challenge continues in this New Year. What can we be thankful for in today’s world? We don’t know what the future of 2021 holds for us, but we can be thankful that we know the ONE who holds the future. And we can thank God for how much God loves us and that God is always with us to guide and protect us.

I read somewhere recently about someone writing in the back of his Bible something he had heard in a lecture: “Discouragement can never take root in a thankful heart!” If 2020 got to you, have a thankful heart for what we have in 2021, or as what Paul said in God’s Word in I Thessalonians 5:18: “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (TLB)

Prayer: Gracious, heavenly Father we are so thankful to have You in charge of all things. You hold our future and for that we are grateful. We are thankful to you, Lord, for our church leadership and the many ministries that we have to help us to reach out to others for You. Be with us always and help us to be thankful followers of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

In Christ,

Dick Clark

ps: This past Sunday, January 24, 2021, Patrick O’Connor (FPCSA Director of Family Ministries) told us that it was “National Compliment Day!” In that case, let’s all take a moment and write someone a note!

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