Ultimate Thanks

Having recently crossed the line from a full time employee to a (somewhat) carefree retiree, my husband planned a couple back-to-back trips for us to take early this fall. The first was within easy driving distance right in Colorado. We packed up a couple days worth of clothes and some snacks for the road, and off we went into the Rocky Mountains.

We were staying at a camp where literally thousands come during the summer months, through the holidays, and on year-round weekend retreats. Now being at liberty to travel in the middle of a week, we were almost the only people there. We had been assigned to a lodge on the premises, and we were not expecting quite the blessing that we received. We were there as guests to get a feel for the place, and so our two-day stay was gratis. But, we were astonished when we realized that we had the entire 7-bedroom facility to ourselves! The massive kitchen with two of all the large appliances adjoined a beautiful great room with a knotty pine interior and rustic décor. There were huge stone fireplaces in both the gathering area and in our suite, which had a full kitchen as well. Every amenity was at our disposal; we felt like royalty staying at our own private retreat.
As incredible as our accommodations were, they could not compare to the extraordinary beauty of the views and the setting at the camp. Majestic mountains, stately pines, beautiful wildflowers, and a star-studded nighttime sky were all around us. We hiked, road horses, soaked in a pristine hot tub and gazed into the heavens. Everything pointed to the creativity and greatness of God. As I walked and prayed, I thanked Him for all that He had given for us to experience and enjoy.
About a week later we boarded a plane and headed east for “The City That Never Sleeps,” New York, New York. Obviously a vastly different environment, we were surrounded by people, cement, and soaring buildings. We took public transportation daily into The Big Apple to visit some of the sights, taste local fare, and take in a couple Broadway shows. The tendency as a tourist in NYC is to crane one’s neck to look up at skyscrapers towering overhead that literally cover Manhattan. They are no match for Colorado’s mountains, but they are awe-inspiring none-the-less.
I was considering these structures, the bridges, the tunnels, the subway system and everything that man has made through intellect, hard work and ingenuity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the challenges were immense and the accomplishments admirable, especially considering that many of the structures and projects were completed with far less machinery and technology than is presently available. Even today as new construction takes place, particularly at the site of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the efforts and workmanship are commendable. In my reflection, something became very clear: while many are awestruck by the achievements of man, the credit, kudos and thanks all still belong to God. Just think about it: didn’t God create the raw materials that are used in these engineering wonders? Isn’t it God who has endowed man with the intelligence and strength needed to make the plans, prepare the materials, and endeavor to complete these projects? In fact He grants life itself to those who bless us through their abilities and talents, efforts and energy. Everything good and worthwhile is essentially God’s handiwork, because without Him, nothing would exist.
God’s gifts, love and care are available every second of every day, and so our thankfulness ought to follow. It should be as natural as our response to someone who shows us a kindness. Obviously here in the US we concentrate on our blessings during this month of thankfulness, specifically on Thanksgiving Day. Consequently, it will serve us well to remember that God is the source of not only all that we have, but all that we are as well. “Oh the depth of the riches, and the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable His judgments and His ways beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the LORD, or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that He should repay Him. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (Romans 11:33-36). Yes, the glory is His, and ultimately all thanks and praise are His as well. Thank Him for all that He is; thank Him for all that he has given, and thank Him for all that He has done for you!

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