The Baptist Testimony
Volume 56 Number 6 November/December 2010
The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” -Psalm 119:28
MARBC Executive Director
This issue of the Baptist Testimony features our annual celebration of God’s blessings upon the churches and ministries associated with the MARBC. It is always a joy to compile these special testimonies and ministry reports which reflect God’s gracious care in our fellowship. The testimonies are a mere sampling of the reasons why we have much to rejoice about in our state.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 declares, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Giving thanks and expressing joy are not just the hallmarks of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Rather, they are to be the everyday attitudes of believers in Jesus Christ as they walk in fellowship with Him.
A story from the history of the Great Lakes region describes how this attitude can be put into practice by those who sincerely follow Christ:
On September 8, 1860, a terrible storm swept over Lake Michigan and threatened to sink the passenger steamer “Lady Elgin.” On shore, watching the tragedy unfold, were some students who had come from nearby Garrett Biblical Institute. As the ship began to break up, one of the students, Edward W. Spencer, noticed a woman clinging to a piece of wreckage. Unable just to stand by and watch her drown, Spencer threw off his coat, plunged into the raging surf, swam to the sinking vessel, and brought her safely to shore. Again and again he swam out and brought back someone, until his strength was gone and he collapsed on the beach from exhaustion. As a result of his efforts, 17 lives were saved, but it almost cost Spencer his life. He never fully regained his health.
After his death some years later, someone wrote his wife and asked if it were true that not one of those who had been rescued thanked her husband. Here is her reply: “The statement is true. Mr. Spencer never received any thanks from anybody he succeeded in saving, or any recognition from any one of them.” Then, in an admirable spirit of magnanimity, she went on to blame the seeming lack of gratitude on the general confusion and exhaustion of the rescued as well as the rescuer. She closed the letter with these words: “My husband always took this view of the situation and never manifested any feeling of resentment, and I am sure he felt none. He did his best, with no thought of reward or appreciation.” (From “Sure as the Dawn, by Donald and Vesta Mansell, as quoted in WITandWISDOM™ Copyright © 1998-2001 by Richard G. Wimer)
While this lack of thankful response may surprise us, it is all too commonplace in today’s world. Stop and recount how many times you have heard the phrase “thank you” shared in the past week. More convicting yet, recount how many times you have shared the phrase! Certainly this is one trait that Christians should be most noted for – the giving of thanks. The Psalms are filled with encouragements to give thanks to God. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the will of God for Christians is to be thankful! And it is further qualified as “in everything!”
Those who know Christ have an infinite number of reasons to be thankful. Do we honor our Lord by reflecting that before others? Or, do we more often leave the impression that to be a follower of Christ is a heavy burden? Hebrews 12:2-3 challenges Christians to “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Following the example of our gracious Lord and Savior we can possess a joyful attitude as we respond to the situations and events of everyday living.
You have His Word on it! (KEF)