Not taken for granted

November 25

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The American way of life was interrupted this year. The damage for some is understandably beyond repair. The loss of loved ones, the loss of job security, and the loss of trust in our institutions. Yet, God through the Apostle Paul, reminds us to rejoice, pray, and to give thanks in all circumstances – including life in 2020.

I believe this unprecedented and unpredictable year has caused many to consider with gratitude what in previous years we took for granted. Today, these simple relationships and interactions have become much more complex due to restrictions and mandates:

  • The gathering of believers for worship.
  • The smile and handshake of a greeter at the front door.
  • The conversations with friends in the church foyer.
  • The lunch at the local diner with family after service.

I want to encourage you this Thanksgiving to appreciate and value your church family and those that labor among you in the Lord. It was not long ago when church doors were locked, and lawsuits were being filed. Let us never take the worship experience for granted – even in New Jersey – especially now.

Furthermore, instead of being upset with seemingly endless threats of business shutdowns and ten-person capacity limits on holiday gatherings, let us be grateful that we live in a state that has over 860,000 small businesses and with hundreds of thousands of homes that can hold ten people or more for a family meal. In many other nations, such economic activity and personal large living space is rare. Let us never take our economic freedom and the right to own property for granted – even in New Jersey – especially now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy