Thankfulness

We celebrated another Thanksgiving yesterday. The usual: the turkey (18# this year), the stuffing, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the peas, the green beans (French style), the rolls, the cranberry sauce, the onions….  Brought my mom over, and College Boy was home for the week, his first time home in three months. All in all, a Thanksgiving like so many others.

Once we push back from the table, once we start “trippin’ on tryptophan,” do we rush into the next season and start decorating for Christmas? Or do we continue in thanksgiving?

To be thankful ought to be more than an annual occurrence. It ought to be daily, hourly–it ought to be a continual prayer of thanks to God for all he’s done for us. Stopping down once a year to be thankful ought to feel embarrassing: if this is the only time we’re thankful, there’s so much we’re missing in our life with God.

I’m thankful for

  • the opportunity to have experienced God’s love so vividly at Emmaus this spring.
  • finding Mom a nursing home that will take her next month, where she can get the kind of care she needs and can be safe.
  • College Boy and his adventures of the past few months: there’s a new maturity I see that heartens me, that makes all the struggles of high school worthwhile.
  • my daughter, despite being in the midst of the aforementioned struggles with high school. Her commitment to the Lord is strong and I appreciate all that she is.
  • my bride, for putting up with me nearly 24 years now. ‘Nuf sed.
  • grace, without which thankfulness is meaningless, and without which so much of the last year would have been impossible.
  • friends, family, coworkers, fellow pilgrims on the trail
  • my dog. I mean, who wouldn’t be thankful for her?
  • anyone reading this. Seriously: if you care enough to be following me and reading these words, I’m thankful that God has led you across my path.

The list, really, is endless. And isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t we live our lives so that they are a testament to how grateful we are to God for all he’s already done for us, instead of asking for the next thing?

Discipleship?

Had an interesting e-mail conversation among folks from church this week around the question: What is discipleship?

It’s one of those church words that gets tossed around, and for those exploring or unfamiliar with the church, it doesn’t mean anything. But even for those who are longtime members, you can get an interesting conversation going around that question. Fundamentally, it refers to being like a disciple: being like one of the original followers of Christ, who gave themselves to him and to spreading the word of God. But what does it mean?

On the one hand, discipleship can be a noun–it’s the process, the stages and steps, by which someone comes from the first inklings of curiosity about Jesus, through learning about him and what he did for us, through committing to be a follower, to growing and knowing what following Christ means, through to a mature disciple. It’s a process of spiritual growth and transformation that follows the threefold nature of grace.

Or is it? Or instead, is discipleship an adjective describing the state of being a disciple? Is it better understood as the end state on earth, the goal of the process if you will, in which grace is operating to bring us to that state?

What do you think? Should we think of discipleship as a process, or as a goal?