There are very few verses that challenge me more than 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The adverbs contained in these verses are overwhelming for me most days. When you overlay these verses onto specific events in your life or to a year like 2020, it just doesn’t seem possible. And yet, there they are.
Always. Without ceasing. In everything.
Those are exhaustive. There is no room for qualifiers or conditions, no loophole through which we can thread our excuse for an action or attitude. We are left with a simple command that requires our complete and unyielding obedience to the corresponding verbs.
Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.
As complicated as I try to make things, this is so simple that it becomes unbearably convicting. No matter what I face, no matter where I find myself, no matter what, my life as a follower of Jesus Christ is to be characterized by a posture of joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. This may seem impossible given what you’re facing today. It is into that darkness that the Holy Spirit will reach you, providing the strength to persevere and make the conscious decision to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. It is in that obedience that we find the peace that passes our understanding.
As we head into the Thanksgiving break, I wanted to express my gratitude to our entire community. It has been no small task to make this school year work, and there is no way we would all be heading off to enjoy time with family and friends with the limited amount of interruptions we have had this year without the complete support of you and your family. Whether it being patient while we take the temperature of your child as they exit the car in the morning, refraining from entering the building, or simply being supportive of all of the things we have had to do differently this year, you have exceeded our expectations. When we consider all that is going on in the world today, I am exceptionally grateful for the Heritage community and the way you have responded to the challenges that we have faced this year.
We have so much to be thankful for as a community, but one area that doesn’t get mentioned too often is the incredible leadership that our Board of Trustees provide on a daily basis. It is oftentimes a thankless and difficult job, which, much like an umpire in baseball, you don’t really notice them until something happens that is controversial or there is a crisis. I wanted to take just a moment to thank all of our trustees for the faithful and tireless work they do that most of us will never see. They work behind the scenes to ensure that the school remains focused on our purpose and mission and that we are disciplined and strategic in the decisions we make as an organization.
We are also excited to announce that Kelli Lanier has joined the Heritage Board of Trustees. Kelli is married to Joe and they have twin daughters, Caroline and Liza, in Class 6. They have been part of the Heritage community for 7 years. Kelli is a Lecturer in the Economics Department at Emory University and has been a tireless volunteer during her tenure at Heritage. Please review the board profile document found here that will acquaint you with Kelli as well as all of our current Board of Trustee and Board of Advisors members.
I hope and pray that you are able to gather with friends and family and enjoy a sweet time of fellowship and celebration this next week. We have so much to be thankful for – and even those things we would rather not count as blessings, we can trust that God will use those for our good (Romans 8:28) and to shape us into His image. We will look back one day and marvel at the tapestry His hand has created in our life.
May your Thanksgiving be full of joy, prayer, and thanksgiving.
Matthew H. Skinner