I’ve been thinking about stewardship this month, which I often do at the end of the summer. After all, it’s harvest time following the hard work of summer, whether on the water, in the stores or on the streets. While not as busy as past Ketchikan summers, there were at least some tourists who disembarked in the First City to take advantage of the local opportunities.
In the Bible times, community festivals and religious ceremonies took shape following the harvest. Herders, artisans and farmers had worked hard through the hot summer months. Neighbors came together to help one another process their goods. And then came celebrations — times of rejoicing, singing, dancing and giving thanks to God.
While stewardship sometimes carries a less than positive appeal, I’m drawn to the lengths and depths of gratitude found in the Bible that is closely linked to worship, praise, deliverance and devotion. In the weeks ahead, I want to dwell on all that God has provided for me, my family, and those whom I love. Regardless of the stuff of life, the politics, hurricanes and all the rest. God is still God and life — so far — still goes on. One day at a time.
When I thank God for work and play, health and well being, family and friends, I come to realize that there is so much beyond my control. I am humbled and blessed; happy to be alive! Psychologists have pointed out long ago the benefits of being grateful and having an attitude of gratitude. Improved health, better sleep and increased energy, more likely to achieve goals and produce better work, are just some examples.
So as the daylight shortens, temperatures drop and the skies break forth in relentless rain, let us find it in our souls to give thanks for the life we have and for all that we need to sustain it. Let us join the Hymn of Thanksgiving in Psalm 100 — ”making a joyful noise to the LORD, worshiping with gladness and singing; for God made us and we are the sheep of his pasture; Let us enter his gates with thanksgiving…for the LORD is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations!” (NRSV)
The Rev. Keith Anderson is pastor of First Luthern Church
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.