When one experiences good in life, it is appropriate to be grateful. For each annual turn of the calendar, November prevails upon us to be grateful. Gratefulness is good for the soul, because it is something that affects our mindset and attitude. For example, we remain tender toward others when we are grateful for the good they direct our way. We maintain a good perspective of our circumstances in life when we are grateful for what it is we have.
Some things come to mind for which we should be grateful. First, we should be grateful to those Americans who have served and are serving in the military. Veteran’s Day is a time that should stir gratefulness in us for the personal sacrifices these have given. Military service requires certain rigors of physical and disciplined training. Military service takes people away from home and loved ones. Injury and death occurs at times for many. Nonetheless, their efforts—-wherever they have to go, or whatever the length of time involved with it—-help to secure national strength and safety for our benefit right where we are. Let us be grateful for their service.
Let us be grateful for the volunteers who provide protections for us. Volunteer firemen come to mind. Firefighting is a dangerous thing to do. Yet, these volunteers answer the call whenever needed regardless of time of day or night. We also are grateful for the vocational firefighters who put life-and-limb on the limb. They attend to their expectations with skill and dedication. I think, too, we should be grateful for how both of these entities keep their equipment shined and in proper working order, particularly the trucks we see at parade times. Impressive, indeed.
Law enforcement that honestly upholds with integrity the law deserves grateful acknowledgment and respect. For good reason, too—-they keep watch on us that we toe the line for safety sake, and they provide necessary protection against those who try to impose harm on us.
Once I traveled the beltway around Baltimore. The speed limit at that time was 55 MPH. I was stopped by a Maryland state patrolman for doing 66 MPH. He was a very impressive man. He was tall and muscular. His uniform was sharp and crisp. He took me back to his car, and asked where I was going. I told him I was headed to school. I was studying for the ministry, and I told him where.
He sat for a long time looking at my license. Finally, he said, “Rev. Branch, I am just going to give you a warning ticket. But, be assured, if I catch you again, it will be $50 going to my collection plate!” Sometimes, Baptist preachers need to be slowed down.
I am personally grateful for the young men I have known who have risen to serve in law enforcement. I saw Joe Finnecum one day this week. Joe was a superb pitcher at Wahama High School, but he now serves West Virginia as a state patrol officer. Colton McKinney was a dependable football lineman at Wahama High School, but has now gone on to work in local law enforcement. Both these young men (and others) help our communities in a significant way.
We should be grateful for those who provide emergency medical services. Every time I see a rescue vehicle speeding along the way with lights flashing and sirens blaring, I whisper a particular prayer—-“Lord, I pray for the rescued and the rescuers.”
However, the bottom line for being grateful should be directed to the Lord, for it is He who calls and directs people in service of others. It is the Lord who calls the military personnel. It is the Lord who calls the firemen, those in law enforcement, and emergency medical providers. The Lord puts it in the hearts of many to serve society at large. He gives them abilities and passions to fulfill these purposes.
In the end, we should be a grateful people for all those who serve us in beneficent ways. Perhaps many in our nation would not be so disgruntled if they were more grateful.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.