Being thankful…

John Reynolds, in his Anecdotes of the Rev. John Wesley (1828), tells the story of Wesley’s student days at Lincoln College in Oxford. A porter knocked on Wesley’s door one evening and asked to speak with him. After some conversation, Wesley noted the man’s thin coat (it was a cold winter night), and suggested that he had better get a warmer one. The porter replied: “This coat … is the only coat I have in the world – and I thank God for it.”

When asked if he had eaten, he replied: “I have had nothing today but a draught of spring water … and I thank God for that.”

Wesley, growing uneasy in the man’s presence, reminded him that the headmaster would lock him out if he did not soon return to his quarters. “Then what shall you have to thank God for?” Wesley asked.
“I will thank Him,” replied the porter, “that I have dry stones to lie upon.”

Deeply moved by the man’s sincerity, Wesley said, “You thank God when you have nothing to wear; … nothing to eat … no bed to lie on. I cannot see what you have to thank God for.”

The man replied: “I thank God… that he has given me life and being; a heart to love Him, and a desire to serve Him.”

The man left with a coat from Wesley’s closet, some money for food and words of appreciation for his living testimony. Wesley later wrote these words in his Journal: “I shall never forget that porter. He convinced me there is something in religion to which I am a stranger.”

Impressive, challenging, and begs the question, “Do I offer that kind of thanksgiving to God, or am I, as Wesley put it, a stranger to that side of religion?”

Psalm 65:1-4 

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!



One thought on “Being thankful…

  1. Isabel says:

    That is the only side of religion I know, and is probably why I feel like an odd bird out — I wish I knew the rules of protocol, of what to say and who to say it to. I wish, but I accept where God has put me. I never want to be the one who comes as a guest into someone’s house and then criticizes what is on the walls or how things are done. Criticize, offer better ways to do things, pitch in and help — who cares — they all boil down to having to rock the boat in one way or another, and for me, being in the house of God, any house of God, that is not the person I want to be. Yet doing things wrongly, going along with the crowd, those things aren’t me either. Me, me, me. Where is God, I asked myself of me? And God showed me, the newbie believer of 18 years, that it is the relationship with God, the relationship with Jesus, to love God’s word with all my heart, that is where the me is suppose to be. Not all of us are coming from a background that allows being part of a group, any group, is beneficial. And what I have learned is the love of the people I knew in church extends beyond the church walls and we still share that same love. I long for a simpler church… a building that is a warehouse for food and blankets and safety; and a loving church that moves and winds among its people, in joy and thankfulness of the Lord, our Jesus Christ. But then that’s me, that silly me. I thank God for loving me, chasing me down, showing me Jesus, allowing my small and barely to be seen amount of faith to be good enough for this great God to allow me the undeserved grace of the forgiveness of my sins and the admittance to God’s family and eternal life. I am thankful every minute.

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