I Love to give thanks.
Two years ago God planted the idea to take a whole month to focus on giving thanks instead of just the 4th Thursday of November arbitrarily set aside as Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong… a holiday with a focus on food and family set in the month when my favorite sport of wrestling gets started on the high school level and I have the opportunity to get in a bit better shape and try to impart some of my love of the sport and desire to see the next group of grapplers succeed… it doesn’t get much better than this. I pray you will find a blessing as you read and are encouraged to focus on your own days of thanks.
On November 1, 2014, I am thankful for my mentors.
November 1 is All Saints Day or All Hallows Day, is traditionally a Christian feast day that most tend to currently celebrate by feasting on all the Halloween candy the kids have collected (so they don’t eat too much of that sugary stuff that isn’t good for them) or feasting on the candy left over after we have shared with all the kids in the neighborhood who stopped by (no guilt here- you need to have plenty so you don’t run out).
But, I digress. I really wanted to give thanks for saints in my life, and one that comes to my mind first is Rev. Willis Nicholson.
When I first met him I was just 23 years old and called to be the minister at the Zoar Presbyterian Church 6 miles east of George, IA. I was young and confident in my preaching (I had won many speech contests on the state level and placed nationally, and had great success in extemporaneous speaking and debate). However, Willis invited me to work on sermons together. He had no need to get together with me. He had been the Pastor at Lyon County First Presbyterian Church for 25 years and had a lifetime of experiences and stories to illustrate points from the Bible in his sermons.
I don’t know if he gained much from our time together each week, but I certainly did and my life and ministry is much richer as a result. I followed his examples of being a Pastor and when I left Zoar after 20 years it was because Willis had requested me to consider moving to First Presbyterian Church in Algona, IA, 16 miles from his home in Lone Rock, saying that congregation was in trouble and that I had qualities that God could use there. He proved prophetic and God richly blessed the time there.
I could go on to talk about Grandma Lilly, Engeline Klaahsen, Rev. Frank Elliott, Clarence Stubbe, etc. I am thankful for the multitude of saints who have touched my life..