A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(New International Version; copied from Bible Gateway.com)
I thought I would try something a little different this year. I want to focus on the many blessings that God the Father has graciously bestowed in my life, centered around the callings He has given to me.
The first sphere where God called me was to be a child in His kingdom through faith in Jesus. I have absolutely no room to boast in anything that I have done. (See 1 Cor. 4:7.) I simply want to put the spotlight where it belongs, giving glory to God who has been most merciful and gracious to me. He has blessed me above and beyond anything I could have ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
- I am grateful God revealed Himself in Scripture; I have learned more about Him
- I am grateful that I have experienced the presence of Father, Son, and Spirit
- I am grateful for the hope that has kept me pressing on through a tough year
- I am grateful for the prayers of family and friends who have helped sustain me
- I am grateful that I have no fear of death because of what Jesus Christ did for me
The next major sphere that God put me in was my family of origin. I have so much to be thankful for when I reflect on all the love I was surrounded with from my mom, dad, sisters, brother, and grandparents. Once I did the “leave and cleave” thing nearly 41 years ago and started a brand-new Christian family with my beautiful wife, Linda, God has continually blessed us beyond measure.
- I am thankful for my siblings who connected virtually on the 20th anniversary of our father’s death in October and for their words of encouragement
- I am so thankful for an amazing wife of 40 years; her beauty, love, and wisdom have grown with the years; she is God’s greatest gift to me
- I am grateful for visits, both virtual and physical, with each of our three children
- I am so thankful for five amazing grandchildren, one of whom was born in April
- I am grateful to see the fruits of our labors in our 1st generation Christian family
In order to provide for my family and to fulfill my purposes in the Kingdom of God, He called me to the sphere of work. This winding spiritual journey morphed from math education, to ministry, to the military, where I still serve today. This should be no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I have so much to be thankful for regarding employment, as well as to my writing efforts part-time.
- I am thankful for a great team of leaders and teammates who make me better
- I am thankful that I get to see God use me in the lives of people that I serve with
- I am grateful to have accomplished our missions while fighting COVID
- I am thankful that I get to live out the theology of work in three dimensions
- I am grateful for doors God opened up to share my work with a larger audience
I trust that whatever you find yourself doing this Thanksgiving, you will take time to reflect on the things that God gave you this past year freely out of His overwhelming mercy and amazing grace.
About the author:
Russell E. Gehrlein (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 40 years, father of three, grandfather of five, and author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He is an ordinary man who is passionate about helping ordinary people experience God’s presence and integrate their Christian faith at work. Russ received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth minister. He served 20 years on active duty. Russ works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Since 2015, he has written 170 articles on faith and work topics. Eighty of these have been published over 150 times on several Christian organization’s websites, including: the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Coram Deo, Nashville Institute for Faith + Work, Made to Flourish, 4Word Women, and The Gospel Coalition. (See published articles on Linktree.)