by Tim Page on May 07, 2021
June 11, 2021
Practicing gratitude is a healthy (and biblical) mindset. I’ll be the first to confess that I can struggle to practice it consistently. But the scriptures exhort us to give thanks and praise, regularly. One of my favorite scriptures in this regard is from 1 Chronicles 16:34: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” The imperative (give thanks) is followed by the indicative (His steadfast love endures forever!). I think when I struggle to practice gratitude, it is because I forget the indicatives of God in scripture. When I recall the indicatives of God…his steadfast love for us, his majesty, his righteousness, all of his attributes…I cannot but be moved to give thanks. In good times and bad, the indicatives of God’s everlasting nature are unchangeable and never-ending. They move us to heartfelt expressions of thanks and praise, even when times are tough. They help us to remain grateful in the midst of our groaning.
Earlier this week you may have seen that St. Louis County further relaxed some of its pandemic restrictions. The most notable change is the permission for businesses to function at 100% capacity. This update comes with caveats, though; most notably, businesses are still required to provide 6’ social distancing if they expand to 100%. This is great news for many businesses throughout the County, and provides much-needed relief. I am so grateful for that. For us at Central, unfortunately, the social distance requirement means we cannot expand our capacity any further. We are already maxed out because of the 6’ spacing protocol. Upon realizing this, I was a little discouraged for us. I was really hoping that we would be able to expand at least a little bit more. These are the types of moments when I struggle to maintain a posture of gratitude. Instead of focusing on what we have, I am tempted to focus on what we don’t. And that draws my heart away from the powerful promises of God.
So today, in spite of the continued challenges we face, I’m thankful for what we have. The last 14 months have been so challenging, and yet God has been faithful to protect and even flourish our ministry together as a church. While we continue to operate at reduced capacity and bear other inconveniences such as masks and a “food-less” campus, there is so much to be grateful for. Transformation through the renewing work of Jesus Christ is happening all around us. New members are joining the church. Our missionaries are laboring tirelessly down the block and around the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Sunday school is back and teeming with vibrant fellowship. Local outreach is increasingly active via our Life Team, Harvest, Bridge of Hope, Care Portal, and ministry to internationals. Clay is preaching with anointed power as we walk with him on the “Disciple’s Path.” Our Hospitality Ministry provided thousands – yes, thousands – of “meals on wheels” over the past 8 months. I could go on! Friends, God is on the move. When I take the time to look at the transforming work that God is up to, I am so grateful to be a part of it with you all.
Thank you for continuing to persevere through this season with us. Let’s be in persistent prayer together, that the Lord would continue to faithfully flourish our ministry together in the days ahead.