The act of giving thanks puts things into perspective and ultimately produces joy. Full discloser: I’m not feeling joy as I sit down to write this. It’s my problem that I’m grumpy, I know that. I just have so very many other things to do, people depending on me, that it feels like a weight pressing on my chest. Lighter feelings will come as I write. I’m sitting down now because our US mission agency, WorldVenture, imposes a November 15th deadline for year-end update letters. Today is that day. I’m taking full advantage of all eight time zones before I submit this thanksgiving missive just under the wire, sent instantly from my Paris office to our Denver headquarters. Allow me, if you would, to publish my gratitude for worldwide distribution.
I am grateful for this deadline. Sometimes I need help to stop, to rest, to breath, to take a long hard look at God’s goodness to me and to worship him. Willful gratefulness produces joy, gusty joy that pushes the weight from my chest. Can you hear me breathing it in? Yes, I want to publish my gratitude. My God is satisfied with me because of Jesus. I willfully praise him for this extravagant grace.
I’m grateful for you, for your interest and prayerful participation in my life. I think of you often. We are partners for the Gospel, the joyful news that God himself has already paid the price for our sin. He is carefully straightening all that we have twisted.
I’m grateful for what God is producing through our obedience to him. This year, we founded a full-service mission agency, OIKOS, headquartered in France and serving the greater French-speaking world. We planted a church near Disneyland Paris. We established a training center for church planters that we expect will plant five new churches in the next five years. We are making followers of Jesus and training intercultural leaders for a worldwide impact.
I’m also grateful for the difficulties we face in this ministry. They produce endurance. This is my 20th year of full-time ministry! Endurance produces character (not always as fast as I might like). Character produces hope, that great hope that God will renew and restore all things. The proof? He has already poured his love into our hearts. The French Finleys love you !!! You see: Willful gratitude does produce joy... right on time!