The Rev. Dr. Jack Hinton was the pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in New Bern, North Carolina. A few years ago he led a mission trip to the Island of Tobago. On the island the team visited a leper colony where Hinton was invited to preach. At the end of the service a woman who he described as, “having the most hideous face I have ever seen,” rose to get his attention. She had no nose or ear. Standing in the back, she waved her fingerless hand and asked, “Can we sing, ‘Count Your Many Blessings’?” Overcome with emotion, the Rev. Hinton wept through the song as he saw her singing joyfully. One of the team members approached Hinton and whispered to him, “I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again.” He replied, “Oh yes I will! But I will never sing it the same ever again.”
In all of her suffering this woman was able to joyfully sing about her many blessings. Unlike this woman, too often as churches and as a presbytery, we tend to count our troubles and not our blessings. This Thanksgiving, let’s count our blessings and forget our troubles. Let’s focus on what we have and not on what we don’t have.
As we quickly approach the day of Thanksgiving, I pause and count my many blessings. I have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for the role I get to play for our Presbytery and for a presbytery that is willing to change, take challenges and move forward. For the various committees and task forces that work so hard to move our presbytery forward, I am thankful. To the A-Team and the Round Table, I am thankful for your devotion and determination that drives our presbytery into the future. For Patty Oleska and Kandy Dunn, our office personnel who work so diligently at their jobs making the office run smooth while presenting the impression that it is effortless, I am thankful. For Frank Lewis our Stated Clerk, and Connie Quinn our Treasurer, I am thankful for all you do. But mostly I am thankful to all the churches that make up the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery. I am thankful for your ministry and outreach, and for the way you are growing the Kingdom of GOD. For the genuine love you have for our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the dynamic and tangible ways in which you demonstrate it, I am thankful. Especially for your enthusiasm and energy, support and generosity that enables us as a presbytery to move forward as a strong unified body, I am eternally thankful.
Friends, with the season of Thanksgiving upon us, let each of us pause, count our many blessings, and be thankful for what we have. As individual churches making up the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery, this week, pause and count your many blessings and be thankful. As a united presbytery, we all need to pause and give thanks as we together count our many blessings, celebrate GOD’s guidance, and enjoy His love as HE leads us into the future. May GOD richly bless you and our presbytery this Thanksgiving and always!
Rev. William Webster