November 26, 2009
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the Lord! Psalm 106:47-48
It was only a short time ago an Army reservist found himself getting mugged in Milwaukee.
The police report says he was forced to the ground with a gun to his neck. He had to lie there helplessly as the four thieves took his wallet, his keys, his cell phone, and $16.
When one of the hoods saw the man's Army ID in his wallet, he ordered his fellow thieves to return all they had stolen. When that was done the leader told the reservist just how much they all respected the military. He continued by thanking the soldier for all he was doing and then, fading into the darkness, he apologized for the inconvenience.
In a few moments, the reservist got up giving thanks for all which could have happened -- but didn't.
That story reminds me of an old tale about Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar.
Reverend Henry, like the reservist, was also robbed and left unhurt. That night, before he went to bed, he wrote in his diary these lines:
"Dear Lord, Let me be thankful:
First because I was never robbed before;
Second, although they took my wallet, they did not take my life;
Third, because although they took my all, it was not much;
And Fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."
As the United States celebrates Thanksgiving Day, I wonder if we all couldn't say a prayer like that.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, many of us have had some difficult times, but they weren't impossible times. We have been through lonely moments, but those moments were countered by the presence of our ever-living Savior. We have carried crosses, but with Jesus by our side, those crosses did not break us. Lord, we give thanks for the pains we never felt, the hurts that never came, the losses that never happened. And we give thanks for Your gracious bounty and freedom from spiritual and earthly tyranny. In Jesus' Name, we give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries