Seven Things I'm Grateful For

By Matt Sapp

By Matt Sapp

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in kitchens and dens and dining rooms all over the country, here are seven things I'm grateful for.  

I’m grateful for my family. I become increasingly aware of how important family is every year. Family is the soil out of which we grow. Fertile soil produces strong roots, and my roots grow stronger every year.

I’m grateful for a growing sense of purpose and vision. The two exist in a symbiotic relationship, each strengthening the other. Vision gives future to purpose and purpose direction to vision. A strong sense of purpose allows for a clear and focused vision to emerge. I've learned that vision isn’t the ability to see a future of endless possibilities, it’s the ability to imagine one God-ordained possibility and see it through.

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I take a second to focus on and reassess purpose and vision until I find clarity. Clarity is energizing and encouraging. Focusing on long-term priorities helps to clear away the daily clutter and gives me direction when I need it, and for that I am grateful.

I’m grateful for Christians who write and speak with courage. It takes courage today to be a Christian who actually speaks for the cause of Christ rather than on behalf of some earthly agenda or kingdom. I suppose that's always required courage. I know that love beats fear every time, but fear sure seems to have the upper hand most days. I’m thankful for those courageous voices who encourage others toward love and refuse to let fear have the last word.

I’m grateful for a year of healthy habits. We focused on healthy minds and healthy bodies last spring at HERITAGE. I’m still trying to read more, pray more and exercise more; and eat less, stare at screens less, and stress less. Balance in life is a beautiful thing. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.

I’m grateful for good music. Okay, it doesn’t even have to be good, just music. On the radio in the car, at a concert, while I’m running, on Sunday morning at church, in the office, while I’m cooking dinner, or on the back porch on a Friday night, I’m grateful for music. Music is the soundtrack of our lives.

One of my friends says he doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. I don’t know about that, but if you aren’t passionate about music, you’re suspect in my book.

I’m grateful for a wonderful church family. This time last year I wrote that I was grateful for two church families—the one I had recently left and the one I was just getting to know. Since then, the people at HERITAGE have been a constant source of blessing and encouragement. I’m frequently humbled by the care and concern shown to my family. The care of the people at HERITAGE cannot be described as anything other than a holy gift. 

I’m grateful for the abiding presence of God. God dwells. God abides. God takes off God’s coat and settles in for a while. Ultimately, all that I am grateful for finds it's source in God's abiding presence in my life and in our world.

The presence of a loving God grows more comfortable and comforting every year. In the end, God’s providence isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Everything we have and everything we are is grace.

As we are recipients of God’s grace, may we also be instruments of its distribution. Happy Thanksgiving.