Happy Thanksliving*!

Why Thanksliving instead of Thanksgiving?  I'm glad you asked.  As people on mission following Jesus, we have the opportunity to strive and live each day with a thankful attitude because we have been called to follow the King of Kings, Lord of Lord's, Savior of all, Creator of the universe, on his unique mission to seek and save what was lost.  When we follow Jesus, the joy of the Lord is our strength. 

The people you lead cannot get that joy and strength by "just" sitting on a pew each Sunday.  You, as a leader of God's people, cannot get that joy and strength by "just" leading worship. God created us to receive his good gifts when we gather together, Word and sacraments, then empowers us to exercise what he gives to us daily.  Exercise is proven to produce endorphins, which in turn make us feel great, plus exercise makes us stronger.  Following Jesus, exercising our faith, releases joy and strength in us so that we can turn around and give away what Jesus gave us. 

You cannot give away what you don't have.  So we do not forsake the gathering together of ourselves, as is the practice of some.  Instead we gather together, receive Christ's good gifts, and do not forsake the giving away of what we've been given, which sadly is the practice of many. 

Receiving and giving away what we receive completes the God made circuit of our lives together.  We receive joy and strength from our Lord, then give joy and strength to those who need it, don't have it on their own, or who through circumstances lost their joy and strength along the way.  This is following Jesus, this is being Jesus people.  We go to church and receive his good gifts, but that is not the end.  In fact, going to church is the means, the means to an end.

We receive the means, the means of grace, and go out into our world to give away what we receive.  We don't wait for people to come to us, we take Christ's good gifts and go out with them to where hurting people live, work, gather.  In our neighborhoods, our jobs, where we shop and in our families and friends.  This is the end of the means, the very reason Jesus gives us his Word, his Body, his Blood, his precious life giving Water.  He gives us these good gifts so that we can get up from our pews, go outside the church building, and give away all the love, grace, support, help, strength and joy we have received from Jesus.  Through Jesus, the end does indeed justify the means!!!

So as people on a mission we celebrate Thanksliving day, today and every day through the One who loves us, strengthens us and gives us joy in living on mission!  Go out today and give away some strength and joy to others. 

* The idea of Thanksliving came to me from one of the wonderful missional ladies working at the Southern Dist, Marion
.  Thank you Marion for turning me onto the idea of Thanksliving!!!

Happy Thanksliving Day!!!
Your Servant In Christ's Mission,
Eric Johnson

Mission and Ministry Facilitator
Southern District, LCMS