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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


I Owe It All To You

A little boy returned home from his friend's birthday party only to be asked by his mother if he thanked the boy's parents for having him. He answered, "Well, I was going to. But the girl ahead of me said, `Thank You,' and the lady told her not to mention it. So I didn't." It almost seems like we have to be trained to express gratitude, doesn't it? Consider the words of Jesus in John 6:35; I am the Bread of Life . He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. " Notice what Jesus is saying here and in other places in scripture.

I.  Life depends on bread. We are the richest nation on the face of the earth. And as a result of God's blessings is that we have an unusual problem in our country. We produce more food than we really need. We're not sure what to do with it all. We have developed in our country something rather unique. Something called "eating disorders." We have clinics and doctors and specialists to help us deal with our "eating disorders." Can you imagine going to Ethiopia and asking starving people on the streets there, "Do you have an eating disorder?" We have eating disorders over here because we have so much. And yet, to the people who have these disorders, they are a very real problem, indeed. For example, how about anorexia? People who have anorexia develop an aversion to food because in their own minds they see themselves as overweight even as they are starving themselves. Then there is bolemia. The person with bolemia says, "I want to be thin, but I'm not able to conquer my appetite. I just can't stop eating." So they stuff themselves and then regurgitate their food to keep from gaining weight. There are starving people in the world and yet, because we have so much, we are the ones who have eating disorders. How strange!

IL God provides the bread. Without God there would be no bread! Fulton Oursler tells about a maid who worked in his house. She had been there when his mother was born and she had also attended his birth. She had been a slave in southern Maryland as a little girl. He wrote, "That woman taught me more about thanksgiving than anyone I have ever met." He said, "I can remember as a boy seeing her sit at our kitchen table. She would sit there with her crusty old hands folded across her starched apron, close her brown twinkly eyes and say a simple prayer, `Thank you, Lord, for our vittles.'" Oursler said, "I would ask her, `Anna, what's a vittle?' She would say, `Vittles? them's the things we eat and drink.' He would say, `But you would get them vittles even if you didn't thank God. "That's right,' said Anna, `but things always taste better when you're thankful.'"

III. Man does not live by bread alone. Do you remember to say thank you for all the many, many things you have? How about to the people who bless your life so much? A letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune was written by a man who had just buried his wife of 40 years. In it he said that after all the relatives had left, he had wandered around their house for a while, looking at the furnishings the two of them had bought together and just remembering. He recalled 40 years of marriage, 40 years of companionship. "We went through some hard times," he wrote, "but she never complained. Even when money was the tightest, she always had a good hot meal ready when I got home." Then he added, "But never one time do I remember saying "Thank you.'" His letter was published in the Tribune as an appeal to husbands and wives to turn to their spouses and say, "Thank you. Thank you for making my home. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my companion." There is always something God has given us for which we can be thankful!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward