PASTOR'S PEN: A paddle of thanks

Last Friday I decided to do a little fishing before the snow fall. I grabbed my friend’s canoe and headed out.

The pike were biting hard and I had one on the chain. After being out a bit, I decided to haul the canoe up on shore and head to a new location. The chain with the fish was attached to the front of the canoe. I leaned forward to grab it up and it slipped a little so I got up and hauled him inside. Now I was set to head back onto shore ... except for one thing: Where was my paddle? I had it right in front of me, but now it was gone. I must have knocked it into the water while I was messing with that pike! I looked all around the canoe and saw nothing. I grabbed the other paddle and began my frantic search. I went down river — nothing. I went back up — nothing. I got out on the opposite shore and walked — nothing. I went back to my spot wondering if some undercurrent had sucked it down and got it stuck — still nothing. I was so nervous. This wasn’t my canoe and these weren’t my paddles. As the night began to get darker, I had to resign to the fact that the paddle must have floated away and was gone. I didn’t want to give up, but knew this was a futile effort. It was good fishing, but I wasn’t nearly as excited about that pike anymore.

I hauled the canoe up onto the shore, ready to move to another spot. I figured I would take one last stroll down the shoreline. I looked intently, yet holding little hope for success. That is until I came upon a foamy section in the water and looked down. There among the white froth was something black. It was the paddle! I was so excited! I quickly grabbed the net and fished out the greatest catch of the evening — my lost paddle! I then proclaimed into the air, "Thank you Jesus!" It’s a statement I would repeat so often that night anyone besides God would have tired from hearing it. I hadn’t been so happy to see an object in a long time.

Thanksgiving is a time we look around at what God has provided and are thankful to Him. Finding that paddle showed me just how thankful I should be. Many times I think of salvation and say, "Thank you Jesus for dying for me," but I do so with little excitement in my voice. They’re just words I’m used to saying. But that shouldn’t be the case. I, like that paddle, was lost before Jesus Christ came. That paddle, in my mind, was gone down stream and I would never see it again. The same is true of each of us. We are lost downstream in the current of sin with no hope of rescue and no hope of ever getting back to God. That is, until Jesus comes and saves us. We go from being lost, never to be found; to being rescued, restored and completely renewed! That shouldn’t just cause us to say "Thank you" at Thanksgiving, but to jump up and down with excitement!

If you know Christ and have been rescued then, "Rejoice! And again I say: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) Rejoice that you have been found and be sure to let the world know that they can be found as well. Happy Thanksgiving!