It is hard to believe we are just a little more than a month away from Christmas. You’d think it was tomorrow the way stores flipped their Halloween displays from skeletons and zombies to Santa and Frosty.
But let’s not forget about Thanksgiving.
Yes, I love Thanksgiving for all the obvious reasons — family, food and football — but I also love it because it is an opportunity to hit pause on a busy and hectic year and remember all for which I have to be thankful.
Here’s my list and I encourage you to make yours.
I am thankful for…
• A wife that makes the Proverbs 31 woman look lazy. The adventure I have been on with Jeanne for 46 years this month is an incredible gift from God.
• My kids and grandkids. Having Wendy, Kevin, Elizabeth, Davis, Beth, Derrick, Maddie and McKenna in our lives has made us more rich than the California dude who won the $2.1 billion lottery — a lot richer!
• A Tennessee Volunteer football team that finally beat the University of Alabama. I just couldn’t bear to watch my 15-year-old granddaughter and passionate Vols fan suffer through another year never having seen her Big Orange beat the Crimson Tide.
• My big brother Rob and my little sister Risa Jo. If you must carry the middle-child mantle, it’s good to have great bookends!
• The opportunity, privilege and honor of working with some of the greatest people you could imagine who serve on our Tennessee Baptist Mission Board team.
• The joy of preaching in churches across our state.
• The Hilton Honor points that came with being a road warrior and spending 140 nights in a Hampton Inn this year.
• A world-class executive assistant in Cynthia Proctor who keeps me pointed in the right direction (and I’m thankful this year started out with her University of Georgia Bulldogs winning a football national championship).
• The wide-open door of opportunities God has given to our TBC network of churches to be involved in Great Commission work at home and around the world. It is an exciting time to be a Tennessee Baptist!
• Tens of thousands of spiritually lost Tennesseans being saved, baptized and discipled through the gospel impact of TBC churches.
• A massive record of $2.2 million being given by Tennessee Baptists for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. The impact of these dollars on missions and ministry across our state is remarkable! And remember, any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.
• The faithful and consistent giving of Tennessee Baptist churches through that Great Commission missions mutual fund called the Cooperative Program.
• Our TBMB Shepherd Care ministry (833-55PEACE). These last few years have taken a toll on our ministers, and Shepherd Care has been a lifeline for several ministers. If you’re a minister and you or your family needs practical biblical counseling call that number now, don’t wait.
• Christmas being just around the corner. The bright lights, red, green and gold colors, the true meaning of Christmas all bring out the 10-year-old boy in me.
• The faithfulness of our great God no matter how lonely it gets and that promise that He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
God is good all the time (and the people responded …?). I hope during Thanksgiving and this holiday season you’ll detach from the hustle and bustle and spend a few moments of solitude thinking about all for which you have to be thankful and for all the ways God has blessed you.
Oh, and there is one more thing for which I am thankful. It is with deep conviction and immense gratitude that I can say it is a joy to be with you on this journey. B&R