Happy Thanksgiving!

give_thanksAs we partake of Family, Food, and Friendship on this Thanksgiving Day, it is easy for us to be critical of those who hundreds of years ago gave us cause for the celebration we now observe. In fact, being critical or ungrateful is the antithesis of being thankful. We have become experts at biting the hand that has fed us since the 1600s.

We must be careful and intentional to be thankful regardless of circumstance. We cannot change the past but we can be relevant and content in the present.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13

The Apostle Paul learned the secret is thankfulness and it is demonstrated by and through contentment. It takes great spiritual maturity to arrive at conclusions such as this. His thankfulness and contentment was aimed, as well. These are not pointless endeavors on his part. They do not return void. The reason is his contentment and thankfulness are aimed at God. He is the recipient.

Our lack of contentment and thankfulness today are more of a sign or demonstration exposing our godlessness. We have no target for our efforts. We are either working, striving, or achieving for self, others or just because, but very few today are working, striving, and achieving for God.

A few years ago, I was coming up for a promotion both in rank and position. I landed the position before I got pinned the rank. Others who held and moved into the same Brigade level positions already had the rank for the position and many were trying for the next higher rank but needed the position in order to get it. To say the least, being of junior rank but same position raised a lot of eye brows. I think “Flabbergasted” is the best word to describe their reactions to me filling the position. After several months and in the middle of my fourth deployment, one of my new peers asked, “how did you get this position at the rank of Captain? I have been trying for years to be in this position and it was all I could to get this one before I came up for Lieutenant Colonel.”

After explaining to him the schools and recent moves, which all of us must endure, I simply replied that “my wife and I prayed about the position and God opened the doors or opportunity.” He looked confused and yes “Flabbergasted” at my response. The look on his face appeared to communicate, “It can’t be that simple.” Or could it?

For Ashley and me, any promotion and position is a matter of God’s hand at work in our lives. If He wanted us to have the position, He would also give me the rank. For my comrade, the priority was the rank then the position and God was just there if things went south. Perhaps it does seem entirely too simple but when God is allowed by us to be first, nothing is impossible. In fact, He is first regardless. He is just waiting for us to figure that out so we can be blessed by Him in ways we have never dreamed possible.

Therefore, our life itself must carry with it a higher aim or goal. King David understood life’s aim:

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah — For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. – Psalm 61:1-5

King David knew there was a “Rock” higher than him and demanded of God that He “lead” him to it.

jump-with-joyAs we celebrate Thanksgiving today, remember to be content and thankful and to place God first. A great way to start, and it is never too late to start, is to pray to God before your meal with everyone present and give thanks to the ROCK that is higher than all of us. Give thanks to God. Let that prayer be the start of your new endeavor to place God first.

As you practice these more spiritually mature methods of saint hood, you will begin to notice and so will others that you are more content regardless of circumstance. And before long, people will be “Flabbergasted” at how your sudden progress has been made possible.

When this happens, be careful and intentional to be thankful to God regardless of your circumstance.

May God Bless you and your Family and HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Veterans to Christ!

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.