Thanksgiving Reflections from the Editor
As I was editing David Brickner’s article (pp. 1, 2), I was especially impressed by his thought that when genuine thanksgiving flows from our heart, it refreshes those around us. I wanted to consider other ways that thanks-giving promotes good spiritual health within the community of God. Here are a few thoughts for starters:
Genuine thankfulness to God is more than a passing thought of appreciation for something we have received. It is a deeply-rooted realization that the Creator of the universe cares to meet our individual needs. Genuine thankfulness takes into account the fact that God’s attentiveness to us is pure grace. It recognizes where we would be had He not taken notice of us, as well as where we are because He has. As a result, when we are genuinely thankful to God, we cannot be puffed up with pride any more than we can be genuinely thankful to Him and filled with self-loathing.
Thankfulness focuses us not only on the gift, but on the giver. When we focus on God, we will not be putting one another down because we realize that it is He, and not us, who has the right to judge. How can a person be genuinely thankful to God while simultaneously judging a brother or sister? How can a person be genuinely thankful and offended at the same time? Thankfulness puts us in a place of realizing what we have, not what we think we deserve or what others owe us. Thankfulness focuses us on the good that God has done to us, not the bad that others may have done.
Thankfulness also builds our trust in God. As we remember and recount His acts of kindness our thanks-giving reminds us that God looks after our best interests. When we trust God, we are more likely to obey Him and when we obey Him, He is more likely to to bless us. It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle! Also when we trust God, we experience His peace—and when we experience His peace, it makes us thankful … completing a circle of grace!
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.