In a few days, we will take time to gather with friends and family to partake in a meal with the thought of thanksgiving at the forefront of our minds. While thanksgiving should be a daily occurrence, it is nice that there is a day in the year when almost everyone will take time off work and reflect upon that for which they are most thankful. While I am grateful for many things, in honor of Thanksgiving, I want to note a few things for which I am thankful concerning this con-gregation.
I AM THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO PREACH. This thought goes past hiring me to be the full-time Pulpit Minister at this congregation (though it is part of it). Paul charged Timothy, and all preachers, to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). I am thankful that this congregation appreciates sermons that involve “Book, Chapter, and Verse.” I am encouraged by this expec-tation from you all.

I AM THANKFUL TO THOSE WHO STRUGGLE TO MAKE IT TO WORSHIP. I am not thank-ful that you all have to endure the hardship – I am grateful that you are here despite the hard-ship. Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9) – your presence is an encouragement and an excellent example.

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE AND AFTER SERVICES. I know that children (I live with three of them) can be wild and mischievous sometimes (but overall sweet), but one noticeable thing is that the children of this congregation are comfortable here. This contentment is a testament to godly parents and grandparents – but also the patience of the entire congregation. Peter compared the Christians who put away the malice and ill intent of the heart and yearned for spiritual knowledge to children (1 Peter 2:1-2). The world forces our young ones to deal with things I wish they did not have to face – but it is comforting to know that they have a place, with the type of people, where they can go and feel secure and loved.

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE HOSPITALITY OF THIS CONGREGATION. I am often surprised to think back and realize that my family and I have been in Monticello (at the time of this writing) for less than five months. It seems like it has been much longer because you all have made the transition from Memphis to here almost seamless and have welcomed and included us without hesitation or reluctance.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house-hold of God.” Admittedly, there is always a feeling of “home” when you are among the church – but as one who has attended and visited many congre-gations, this congregation is head and shoulders above most. Thank you for taking us in and making us feel at home.

I AM THANKFUL FOR THE ZEAL OF THIS CONGREGATION. Unlike a large city where one can come and “fly under the radar,” the community of Monticello has noticed that my family and I are not originally from around here. I am often asked what brings me to Monticello, and when I tell them that I am the new preacher at the Monticello Church of Christ, there are generally two things said after I make that statement. First, they ask, “is that the big, white building on the northern edge of town?” (we are blessed to have such a wonderful location and stunning facility to meet); second, “do you know” or “have you met,” or “then you know” this person, or this family. I find it encouraging that the community knows you all are members of this congregation and that they always have positive things to say about you. Solomon stressed the importance of a good reputation (Proverbs 22:1). This congregation’s reputation among the community has and will continue to pay great dividends in expanding the border of His Kingdom – thank you for representing Jesus well to Monticello!

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoys this time with friends and family. I want to encourage everyone to take some time this week and list some things for which you are thankful.