There will be never-ending games of our favorite football team while preparing for the next big event, Christmas shopping. And just perhaps, through the hustle and bustle, we lost focus what it means to be truly thankful.
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness (endures) to all generations." Psalms 100:1-5 AMP
The month of November usually revolves around last-minute preparations for gathering of family and friends to feast on a Thanksgiving meal fit for a king. There will be never-ending games of our favorite football team while preparing for the next big event, Christmas shopping. And just perhaps, through the hustle and bustle, we lost focus what it means to be truly thankful.
I am so grateful that God has no problem reminding us.
The annual Louisiana Book Festival recently held in Baton Rouge was a first for my family and me. My mother flew in just for the event. She is a minister as well as author who written a dynamic book, "Teenage Alternative: You Don't Have to Stay There." She was to hold her very first book signing here in the state.
The objective at any book event is to be successful. As you network through meet-and-greets, it is also important to remember the true purpose of our existence: As believers, we are to share the gospel and love of God with those we encounter along the way. This day was no different.
"Then He said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" Luke 10:2 NKJV
It is our practice that before my family and I begin our day, we seek direction from the lord. We prayed before the event that God's will would be done and that no person would pass our table without meeting the lord. He was faithful to our prayers.
We were blessed: Our tables were situated at the entrance of the event. This meant we would encounter patrons coming in and going out.
"You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out." Deuteronomy 28:6 NIV
As visitors approached our table to inquire about the products, they began sharing words of encouragement with us. Hugs, love and praise were generously given, showing once again God had our group in mind.
"Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness." Psalm 143:10
As the day progressed and the crowd began to increase, so did the opportunities to be used by God.
Father and son
The book cover of "Step out of Your Box" caught the attention of the son. His father soon after came to join him at the table. I smiled and re-introduced myself while sharing brief details about both books. As his son flipped through the pages, he began asking additional questions. The father listened. The son then suggested that they purchase the book. It was apparent the father was uncomfortable. My spirit became heightened. At that moment, something was unfolding. It is important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to be led by him
The father began to discreetly explain that he attended the event as an outing for his son but had enough money only to purchase him lunch. Both father and son agreed the book would have benefited his teenage daughter (age 19) who is going through some difficulties. At that moment, I offered the book as a gift to his daughter. The father looked at me for a moment and began to decline. It was then the love of God became even more real to them both. The father realized it was not the profit that mattered. It was about leading others to Christ through his love, regardless of the method.
Unbeknownst to me, my neighbor to the left was intently watching the interaction. I thought she was promoting her book as well. God had another plan.
You are worthy
Later that afternoon, the lord directed a man in his early 20s to my table. He began to examine the book cover of "Rekindle Your Love for God." (He is a graphic designer.) And he began to inquire about its content. I shared how the book came about. He shared that he, too, is a new author and poet and has a start-up business in computer graphics. He asked more questions about the book, and I sensed once again something was unfolding. I offered the book on a discount because I could tell he really wanted it. He said his money limited but that he truly wanted to purchase a copy. I sensed the lord wanted him to have it, so I offered it as a gift. Then it happened.
The young man was so surprised I offered the book that he took two steps back while putting his hands out to respectfully decline. He then said something that blew my mind: "I cannot accept the book; for I am not worthy." My heart broke. That was what I had sensed in him earlier, brokenness and rejection. I gently explained with all the love God has poured into me how much he was worthy through the shed blood of Jesus. I was then led by the Holy Spirit to minister to him, love on him, pray for and over him and assure him of how much God loves him. Needless to say, when it was all over, those who witnessed the encounter were affected as well. And yes, he accepted the gift of love and promise to read the book.
Allow me to share what I am thankful for in this season.
I am thankful that I serve a God who never fails; who remembers not our shortcomings and loves each of us in spite of ourselves; who redeemed us from the curse of the law; from poverty; sickness and disease; and who desires for you and me to have eternal life with him forever.
Being thankful is not about material gain, though. The blessing of the lord promises his children prosperity (Deuteronomy 28). Prosperity comes in many forms, such as gifts and talents and ideas, all of which come from the father in heaven. I recently read that to be spiritually poor is better than to be rich. For when you are rich, many cease to seek the help of God. This Thanksgiving, when sharing a meal with loved ones, friends and strangers, remember whence you came and who brought you through.
Until next week, be blessed, and I love you in the love of the Lord.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.