“After Paul urged the men on the boat to eat, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.” Then he broke it, and began to eat. They were all encouraged.” Acts 27:35-36

   A Russian man recalled his youth saying, “As a teenager, I enjoyed going to our neighborhood grocery store. There my friends and I would get a roll of bread and a few slices of cheese for a snack. An elderly lady who worked at the store would always say some kind and encouraging words to us, as she carefully sliced our cheese
   A few years later, the USSA collapsed. Because of major economic disruptions, all cheese disappeared from the grocery stores. Most other food items became scarce too. The store was still open, but it sold only a bread. My memories of a kind lady who sliced cheese for us seemed almost unreal, but they still warmed my heart in those difficult times.”

   Similarly, the men on Paul’s ship faced a very difficult situation. In the middle of a terrible storm, their boat running aground, unsure where they were, they faced the possibly of drowning at sea. Yet in the midst of their terrifying circumstances, Paul took what little food they had, lifted it toward heaven and thanked God for it. And his words brought encouragement to everyone on the ship.
   We all face difficult circumstances, such as an impending surgery, loss of job, or a lingering disease. Yet Paul’s act reminds us that when we pause to give thanks for what we have (even when it’s little) our gratitude brings encouragement. This month, most people will celebrate Thanksgiving to thank God for the feast they eat, for their families gathered around the table and their many other blessings. Yet even if this has been a hard year for you, be sure to thank God for your blessings as an encouragement to others.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Steve