Pastor Joe Miller IV
Proverbs 4:20-22, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
It seems like yesterday I heard the words, "Joey, listen to me." If I heard that phrase once, I’ve heard it 10,000 times from my mom and dad growing up. At the time, I didn’t appreciate them like I do now. The life that was in those words through correction or instruction was priceless as I look back. It has been nearly 50 years, and the words still ring in my ears. But they are not just words anymore.
Proverbs 5:1, "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding."
What I knew of the words now has evolved into understanding and wisdom. Life and the experiences that come from life give value to the words, like colors to a picture. The good times and the bad, the fears and trials, the laughter and tears. Growing up and raising kids, and now grandkids, have all caused me to fine-tune my views on life, you can even say come to conclusions on life, although I know I have so much more to learn. This brings me to the point I hope to make.
Throughout my life, I have been a child and parent, student and teacher, employee and employer. I have been under authority and also in a position of power. After serving on both sides of the coin, I have learned that there is an attitude that, if given effort, can take these roles and relationships to their height of maximum productivity - even make them pleasant and fun. The attitude of giving thanks, to be thankful - and it starts at your salvation. We should first give thanks daily because of the grace of a loving Creator. God’s riches at Christ’s expense to and for an undeserving creation. Thank you, Lord.
Ephesians 5:19-21, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
Verse 19: we need to remind ourselves to celebrate the relationship we have with the Lord in our hearts. The flesh is sometimes selfish, wanting all the attention. But we are reminded and commanded to glory in God and in thankfulness.
Verse 20: we are to give thanks always and for all things. Whether a child or parent, student or teacher, employee or employer, under authority or in authority - in whatever roles and trials we find ourselves in today, we must give thanks. Look at it this way, ‘I don’t have to do this. I get to do this!’ You don't have to be married to your spouse, you get to! So let’s glorify God in our roles by being thankful for them. I would challenge you to practice thankfulness for one month and see how your relationships improve.
In verse 21, the Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord means to recognize God for who He is and to reflect it in your life. The reflection of God in your life is in the direct love you have for others, even submitting yourselves to them. By humbling yourself and putting others first, you not only edify them and glorify God, but also the body becomes more productive.
Let’s be thankful in our daily routines and roles, be more thankful in our relationships, even be thankful for our trials which lead to thankful victories and maturity.
When I was a child, my thankfulness was driven by things that I could see, which are temporary. As I grow, my thankfulness is driven by the things I cannot see which are eternal. Let us learn to give thanks in both!