“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
2021 has been a challenging year. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I lost both my father and my sister only four weeks apart this year. However, even through pain, loss and challenges there is so much to be thankful for. My list was endless as I began writing them out line by line.
Recently, I came across a fascinating story about a man being thankful even when going through his own challenging and difficult season of life. In 1985, Scott Macaulay began a new Thanksgiving tradition shortly after his parents decided to get divorced. The holidays turned complicated and bleak that year for Macaulay, who was only 24 years old at the time. He could tell that he would be spending Thanksgiving by himself and hated that feeling.
So, he placed an ad in his local newspaper inviting anyone who might be alone on Thanksgiving to give him a call. He explained in the ad that he would be happy to have them over to his place for a meal. A few people showed up that first year and he had a great time. So, Scott kept placing ads each year following. As time went on, the event grew so much that he needed to find larger spaces to host the Thanksgiving meals. In recent years, he’s been serving up his Thanksgiving dinners at local churches in the community.
This year, in an effort to combat the feeling that COVID-19 is ruining everything, Macaulay maintained the tradition from his annual dinners. He requests that his meal recipients write down what they’re thankful for. “We’re all messed up in this country right now, however I think if we focus on what we’re thankful for, it can change our perspective a little bit,” he said. “It just makes you feel better.” The messages that he’s been receiving on folded pieces of paper from grieving people, aging people and sick people keep cheering him up. Here are a few . . .
“I’m thankful for being able to walk, talk, breathe, see and hear.”
“I’m thankful for the beauty of the changing leaves. Even in death, they are beautiful.”
“I’m thankful that I will have a turkey dinner, thanks to Scott.”
“I’m thankful for the ability to go for a walk every day.”
“See how this changes your mood?” Macaulay said. “I love reading these!”
“It’s the best I could do this year.” “The best I could do.”
Here is a question. In a society that is full of great divide and division, how are you making progress at “doing your best?” I assure you, there is always something to be thankful for. I encourage you this week to pause and be intentional. Look around for ways to be thankful in a thankless, self-indulged culture. Take your mind off your situation and look for ways to serve someone else, before self. Those opportunities around each of us every single day, however we must keep our head up and our eyes open.
Yes, “be thankful in all circumstances!”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Be Worth Being,
Kevin Burrell has worked in professional baseball as both a player and MLB scout for the past 39 years, and currently serves as an area scouting supervisor. Kevin was drafted in the 1st round of the 1981 free agent amateur draft (25th selection overall), and played ten years of professional baseball with four different organizations. He and his wife, Valerie, live in Sharpsburg, Ga.
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