Giving thanks comes easy to some while it is more difficult for others. Life’s experiences can certainly throw us some curve balls; at the same time, there are many joys to call to remembrance and celebrate.

My life may differ from others yet each of us have one thing in common: we can and will have occasional struggles. The losses of loved ones are perhaps the more difficult adjustments for us to make. Having been a Hospice chaplain many years ago, with pastoral care being given to those nearing the end of their years here on earth, I learned a valuable life lesson: relationship is what matters. Losing them, whether to death or in suffering broken communication, is where it hurts.

Jesus simplified the most important, the most anchoring, two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind…and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” [Luke 10:27 GNT]

I have not mastered either one of these commands…yet they are my ultimate grace-goals. To give Him all of my heart, soul, strength and mind risks losing control of my extremely valued treasures. I do love Him, yet honestly I do so to the degree that I am graced to put Him first. I admit my devotion is prone to wander…perhaps being tempted to let other’s opinions eclipse His. I do honestly want Him to be the guardian of my soul at the same time that my hands grip the steering wheel. I do need Him to be my source of strength–yet I still tend to strive in my own. ‘My mind….Lord Jesus…it can be a runaway stallion! I need You to saddle that filly!’

Then…to love others as myself? Well, considering the fact that I haven’t even mastered giving Him my all, what makes me think I can love others as myself? Looks like yielding my all to Him comes first if these grace-goals are to be reached. The banner held high at the finish line is: Relationship is what matters!

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