Guest Blog by John Friesen, CEO, MBC
This is the month when our minds turn to giving thanks. We have just celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend here at MBC and the scenery is beautiful, as the autumn colours seem to be at their peak right now. The smell of autumn is in the air. It truly is breathtaking in Muskoka these days.
Our MBC team theme this year has been focusing on ‘gratitude’. Gord Stephenson was kind enough to build and install a Gratitude Chalk Board in our team lunchroom. It was interesting to see how eagerly the students on the team (spring and summer) filled up the board with all sorts of words and phrases – expressing thanks for other team members, for key verses of scripture, for movies they liked, for friends and for many other things that boggled my mind.
What else I found interesting was that our year round team members (yours truly included) didn’t seem to share this enthusiasm for writing down things we were thankful for. There was a stark contrast with how quickly the youth adopted and engaged into the theme of thanksgiving and us older folks seemed to drag our heels a bit.
Sure – I understand that as we get older our enthusiasm for anything seems to diminish somewhat. But giving thanks? Surely, the longer we live the more of God’s blessings we have to be thankful for. Yet – there is hesitancy; a pause that seems to be present as we look back on life. Perhaps it has to do with dreams unfulfilled, or broken relationships or sickness or many of the other hard things that this life throws at us. I certainly have my share of disappointments and hurts and they do give me pause when it comes to being thankful.
And yet – it really is about perspective. As I prepared to preach on Thanksgiving Sunday – the text (Phil 4:4-7) forced me to take time to deeply reflect on the grace that God has extended to me in His plan of redemption – the forgiveness of my sins so that I can stand in His glorious presence without a single fault. As I let this truth permeate my mind and sink into my soul – the heaviness and the darkness of the past receded to be replaced by an energetic hope for the future, not only for this life but also for the life yet to come. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the consistency of Scripture that keeps pointing me back to the truth of the Gospel. And because of that Good News I can now serve at the pleasure of the Living God with a grateful heart.
Today I give thanks for the profound truth that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save the lost – to save me. And no circumstance of life can ever separate me from the love that birthed such a great redemptive story. May your gratitude increase as you reflect on the love of God found in these verses from Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
CEO, Muskoka Bible Centre