Links Daily Devotional

The Winning Attitude, Part 21

IN EVERYTHING give thanks… (1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV)

Recently Todd Howard, a great PGA Golf Instructor but with a woeful task of being my golf coach, piled with me into his emerald-green Chrysler van and headed north from Annapolis, Maryland, for a brief trip to Pennsylvania.

About ten minutes into our trip I said to Todd, “I need to write a Links Players devotion that’s due tomorrow.”

“What are you thinking about?” he asked.

“I’m writing about ‘in everything give thanks,’ and been impressed with something that Paul wrote: ‘be rooted and grounded in the faith, abounding in thanksgiving.’”

Todd and I have enjoyed many times in the Scriptures. I knew he knew them well. “I’ll bet you know right where it is,” I suggested.

“Philippians,” he said, looking straight ahead. I glanced over at him and noticed a puzzled look on his face. “Colossians?”

“Right. Colossians 2:6-7.” What struck me was the phrase “abounding in thanksgiving.”  The New American Standard translates this “overflowing with gratitude.” I love both translations.

Instead of talking, we decided to pray. We stuck to thanksgiving and praise. No petitions or requests. Not our norm. I started by saying a brief prayer thanking God for Todd and for the angels God had for us to look after us on this trip. Then Todd followed, then me, then Todd. Then a few moments of silence, then Todd, then me.  Before we knew it we were north of Baltimore.

Thirty minutes had passed.

I don’t remember any time a trip started on a better note.

In his gospel, Luke wrote about a woman of overflowing gratitude. Luke did not reveal her name, but when she showed up at the home of a Pharisee named Simon, we are informed that Simon felt the woman was morally suspect. Luke painted a vivid picture of her:

She carried a vial of perfume. She fell at Jesus’ feet, weeping, and began to wet his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair, at the same time kissing and anointing them with perfume.

Simon didn’t want this woman he believed to be of questionable morals in his house.

But Jesus defended her with a parable which climaxed when Jesus said to Simon, “He who is forgiven little loves little.”

Then he looked to the woman and said, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

I see her leaving Simon’s home abounding with thanksgiving.

Why? She knew she’d been forgiven much.

I wonder sometimes if I fully realize how much I have been forgiven and what Jesus went through to make my forgiveness possible. If I did, I think I would love him more fully with all my heart, mind and soul.

And I would find myself capable not only of giving thanks in everything, but more often of “overflowing with gratitude.”

Jim Hiskey
October 20, 2014
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