Thanksgiving plays a big role in Networking! Writing thank-you notes should become second nature to anyone who not only wants to display good manners, but also make the most of positive encounters. Whenever someone takes time out of his or her schedule to meet with you, best networking practices require a thank you note. Not only does it remind the other person of the positive meeting, it provides a great opportunity to set up the next one.
At Thanksgiving time, we make a special effort to do what we should do all the time. As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly states that God wants us to give thanks at all times in every situation. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Along the same lines, Romans 12:2 enjoins us not to be conformed to this age, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we may know what God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will for us is. Nothing renews the mind like rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving. We do not have to remain hostages to the bitter, painful, defeated discourse of this age.
Someone will always ask how we can rejoice and pray and give thanks when there is so much pain in the world. The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno wrote about “the tragic sense of life”—the fact that we act out our lives against the tragic backdrop that we all die. The tragedies, defeats, pains, disappoinments, disillusionments and failures of life present a formidable barrier to thanksgiving for many.
In Psalm 9:1-2 the psalmist David offers a powerful case for thanksgiving “in spite of.” He sings “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” As the psalm continues, it becomes obvious that he has recently emerged from brutal conflict and affliction from his enemies. As a matter of fact, the song fits well against the backdrop of Absalom’s Rebellion, in which David’s son had driven him from Jerusalem in order to take his throne, but wound up beheaded.
In the note that introduces the psalm, a scribe has written “upon Muth labben,” which means “according to the tune of ‘The Death of the Son.” Imagine writing a song of thanksgiving and setting it to the mournful tune of a son’s death. The background music of David’s singing was the death of his son. I don’t know how he had the faith and hope to do that. But I know why we can do the same.
The death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on the cross has become the background music of life in God’s Kingdom. Unamuno’s “tragic sense of life” undeniably remains—all of the defeats and failures and tragedies of life continue to certify that we will die. But the new tune, better still, the swelling orchestra behind the believer’s song of thanks is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like David, we sing our song of thanksgiving to the tune of Muth-Labben, but Jesus has modulated that brooding dirge into a major key. Because he has tasted death, defeat, frustration, and pain for us all and has nailed it to the Cross, our song of thanks has been transformed forever. Sing it loudly, and rejoice. May you not only have, but also do, a Happy Thanksgiving!
For more, see The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013). Order it in paperback or Kindle edition at http://www.amazon.com/The-Kingdom-Net-Learning-ebook/dp/B00EDO1F6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376544126&sr=8-2&keywords=Joseph+Castleberry.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.