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Taking inventory

November 23, 2016
By PASTOR ROGER LEMKE ( , Pine Island Eagle

When I was 12, I was hired by the owner of a small market to sweep the floor, bag items for customers and put up stock. One day, the owner said to another employee: "It's time to take inventory."

That word had not yet entered into my vocabulary, so I asked: "Sir, what is an inventory?"

The owner explained that it is so easy to forget what you have and so we make a list of everything from groceries on the shelves to wrapping paper and string so that he will know what to order for the next month.

That little story pretty well sums up what Thanksgiving is all about: "Taking inventory of our lives".

A group of Moms were taking inventory of things that they were especially thankful. One Mom said: "I'm thankful for husbands who attack small repair jobs because they usually make them big enough to call in professionals." Another mom said: "I'm thankful for smoke alarms because they let me know when the turkey's done."

Each of us could make our own list of things for which we are thankful. However, we must recognize that Thanksgiving may be the most dangerous of all holidays, because we may forget God by falling to the temptation to see our prosperity and our good life as something we have gained all on our own say-so. For example, if we give thanks for our good health, what does that say to people who do not have a healthy body. Does that say that we are more deserving than they, or that somehow God loves us more?

We may believe that shopping sprees and gluttony are our patriotic duty, and believe that we can be thankful only if we have a lot of stuff. However, Thanksgiving is really about un-stuffing ourselves of our stuff so that we can give thanks for things that are not things.

In Ephesians 1:15, Paul gives us an example of giving thanks for things that are not things saying: "Give thanks for faith, give thanks for love, give thanks for a spirit of wisdom, give thanks for the riches of God's glorious inheritance and the immeasurable greatness of God's power."

None of these blessings can be seen, touched, purchased or possessed. Therefore let us learn that true thanksgiving is not shouting: "Look at the size of that turkey!" But shouting: "Thanks be to God for who He was, for who He is and what He shall be! Thanks be to God for this marvelous world where the sea thunders and the fields exult and the woodland trees cry out for joy at the presence of God" (1 Chron. 16:31-36).

Therefore on this Thanksgiving day, may you take inventory of all that God has done and give Him thanks that he does not supply your greeds, but your needs.

Roger Lemke is pastor of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church. The church is at 10360 Stringfellow Road. Call 239-283-1170 for service times and/or additional information.



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