My Thanksgiving List

Don’t you think that everyone should be required to wait tables at Shoney’s, IHOP, or Waffle House at least once in their lives? Maybe just for a summer, but these and most other food service-related places give opportunities to see people at their best and their worst. Wouldn’t that type of experience change the culture of our country? I think we all would treat each other just a bit better.

I have been watching reports on the shortages of everything going into this holiday season. It seems like we are about to get a front row seat to a bad experiment in human nature. It could get ugly out there. However, the coolest part about this upcoming season is that we get to be the change agent in this crazy mix. We can be the light in the dark.

It all starts with us, but maybe not in the way you automatically think.

Pastor Chip Judd once said, “Pay attention! We tell people how to treat us by the way we hold ourselves, how we talk about ourselves, and how we treat other people. We need to tell the world how we want to be treated.”

Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

This week, when God put these two thoughts of being light in the darkness and telling the world how to treat us, it had me puzzled. However, the more I thought about this in the context as a pastor, a friend, and even part of a family, the more I realized people don’t treat themselves very nicely at all. 

What if Jesus wasn’t just talking about the other poor and hurting people we encounter? What if He was talking about ourselves too? Indulge me in taking some liberty with the scripture for a moment, but what if that scripture read, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, including yourself too, you do for me.’ 

This holiday season, I would like propose we remove some of those lofty expectations to please others, have the best dinner, give the best gifts, have the most epic holiday playlist, and the shiniest lit house. Instead of striving for perfection, how about we strive for contentment. 

In a world where we can’t get everything exactly how or when we want it, we can all learn contentment is internal, not external.

I love this season of thankfulness because it’s a reminder to be kind to others, but I’m adding myself to that list this year too.

Happy Thankful week!

In His service and at yours!


Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

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