For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving… 1 Timothy 4:4 NIV
This is the week! Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble!
I’m sure many of you are preparing your Thanksgiving table, much in the same way as the Amish do. I talked about their table yesterday. Today I want to talk about your table. Today’s verse is interesting to me. When you first read it, especially if you read it in different Bibles, you might scratch your head and think “Huh?”
All of us certainly agree that everything God created is good. Well, I admit that I don’t particularly enjoy that one lingering fly that keeps pestering me in my kitchen, but it serves some purpose, I’m sure. But it is the second half of this verse that is perplexing. Two words: rejected and received.
“…nothing is to be rejected…” God’s gifts to us should not be rejected. Usually we reject things that we do not like. Perhaps it is an illness, a financial crisis, or just a downright yucky situation. We do not welcome these things. In fact, we often fight against these situations. But Timothy is telling us that all of God’s gifts are good and we dare not reject them. That means we have to take the good with the bad.
“…if it is received with thanksgiving…” And here we are told that not only do we have to accept the yuckies, we have to be thankful for them. Say what????
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, that was yucky. Unbeknownst to me, I lived this verse. I did not reject my diagnosis and I even thanked God that it was me who had it and not my mother, my daughter, other family members, and friends. I know that God chose me for this gift (and it was a gift) because A. I could handle it and B. I need to change my life.
I was working to hard for a horrible college that treated me and other faculty rather badly. It was a shame because I really loved the students and loved the other faculty…in fact, I loved my job!…but I did not care for the brothers who owned the college (nepotism at its worse) and how the upper tier of administrators did just a wee bit too much butt kissing and backstabbing. My breast cancer liberated me. Marc agreed that I didn’t have to go back to work after they terminated me for being ill too long. I have been able to write full-time and spend much more time with my children. And, so far, I’m still healthy.
Most people reacted strangely when I would say that breast cancer was the greatest thing to happen to me. I think they thought I was joking. I wasn’t. What most people would gladly reject, I received with thanksgiving. Even during my treatment, when things were rocky and not going so hot, I said,
“Whatever happens, it’s God’s will and I’m a-OK with that.”
We need to approach everything in life with the same attitude. We need to express our thanks to God for the good and the bad. When bad things happen, perhaps God has another plan for you. We cannot lose faith during the bleak periods. That is the exact moment when we need God the most. Give thanks for everything. Reject nothing. And know that, like me, you can handle anything God gives to you. You just have to trust his higher plan for us. Practicing that will make us prudent, indeed.