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"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." G.K. Chesterton. "The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for." Norman Vincent Peale.

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24. "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24.

Many of us realize that we had nothing to do with creation. An awesome, powerful God did that. Somewhere along the line, this was forgotten. I implore you right now to stop and remember from whence we came, and give thanks. "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1. Just a few days ago, a friend (a brother in Christ) transistioned to be with the Lord. Usually, this brings on some sadness because we will miss the human presence. But, I was rejoicing in my spirit. Not that he is no longer with us, but because of what he left behind; a legacy of discipline, love and service to God and his fellowman. He gave of his best to the master. We are blessed to have people that make you want to be better just because of who they are. Deacon Benjamin Pinckney was just such a person. His life of love and service to his family and to the church was above reproach. God's standard is excellence, and Deacon Pinckney endeavored in all that he did to meet that standard. His legacy will bless and teach many for many years.

Deacon Benjamin Pinckney had served numerous years as Superintendent of Church School, when he stepped down. He did not sit down, he went on to serve in other capacities in other ministries in the church. I was asked to step into the position of Superintendent of Church School. Initially, I was intimidated because my predecessor (Deacon Pinckney) was disciplined, organized, prepared, committed, present and punctual. He did not have to be reminded of meetings or upcoming events that pertained to church school. He was always present, prepared and on time. He was so "old school." He showed the proper reverence in all that he did. He was an excellent role model and a hard act to follow. He exemplified the scripture: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24.

While others had faith in me, I did not believe that I could do the wonderful job that he did. But, Deacon Pinckney inspired me to do my best by him being the best. He also reminded me that we are here to please God and that the Lord will equip us with what we need to effectively serve Him and to build his Kingdom. Think about this: God assigns you a task. He wants you to succeed in that task. He equips you with what you need to do a good job. When you need help, He is there to provide it. In the process, people are being blessed, you are being blessed because you are being obedient in letting God lead you. Wow! Thank you, Deacon Pinckney, for your wisdom and for letting Jesus live His life through you. That's why it looked so easy. Your trust and faith in the Lord allowed you to submit to His authority. We saw Christ in you, and we are better for it.

As I reflect on the life and service of Deacon Pinckney, I can truly say that he is someone we are thankful for. God often sends situations and things in our lives to heighten our awareness for the need to be thankful. How about those people who are placed in our lives for a reason and a season? They are usually there to bring us to another level of gratitude. I am honored to have benefitted from the dedication, care and steadfastness and humility that I saw demonstrated by Deacon Pinckney in anything and everything he was assigned to do, no matter how small or large the task. His demeanor was always pleasant, and he always wore a smile. Everyone was blessed by your allowing God to use you (Deacon Pinckney) in this way.

Thank you, Deacon Pinckney, for showing us what it means to give God your best and to serve Him with your whole heart and for giving us even more to be thankful for. You sought to please God in word and deed. And you did. You are one of those special gifts that will bless us for a lifetime. Like Paul, you have finished the course. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day--not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8. I know you are rejoicing somewhere around God's throne. Hallelujah! Enjoy the rest from your labor!

Now to those of us who can still make a difference. What are we doing? Are we living purposefully? Have you given it any real thought? To be honest, we are probably (most of the time) doing things by rote, that means without putting too much thought into it. By memory or routine. Well, I implore you again to stop and take stock. Take a moment to experience every moment of your life. Why? Because time waits for no one. We sing a song at church, "It May Be The Last Time, I Don't Know." It kind of puts things into perspective. The time to do your best and to be your best and to be grateful is right now. Every morning when you wake up, give thanks and vow to do your very best at whatever you will be doing that day. You may not see it, but someone is watching you who needs someone to look up to; a role model to move to the next level in their life. This will result in your growth and your life satisfaction quotient will increase exponentially! Just knowing that you are walking in God's will for your life brings unspeakable joy and peace. Others are drawn to you, and you have the opportunity to share the blessing of directing others to the center of your joy, (the Lord), Who is extending these blessings to, "Whosoever will...." Revelation 22:17.

God's way is the best way. Sometimes it takes a while to see that. Although my parents were in my life for a short time, they inspired and taught me to always aim higher than my reach and to be the best that I can be. They told me to always thank God for everything He gives me. My grandmother went a little further (she was a little harsh). She said, "If you do not appreciate what God gives you, He will take it and give it to someone else." Like I said, she was a tad harsch. But, she made her point: Be thankful and use wisely what God has given you. "To whom much is given, much will be required." Luke 12:48. You will know when you have been given much. Use what you have been given (whether a lot or a little) to honor God and to serve others.

King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He was that wise because when God asked him what he wanted, he said, "wisdom." He wanted wisdom to rule his people. God granted him wisdom. We still speak of Solomon today, centuries later. Truth be told, Solomon's decisions are referred to and still impact judicial decisions and personal decisions. Our greatest role model is Jesus Christ. He showed us how to serve with love, humility and forgiveness. We came into this world with nothing. We have the opportunity to gain much, and we have been given much by our creator. The least we can do is take time out to say, "Thank you."

We can all use a good "road map." Now it's "GPS." I digress. Suffice it to say that sometimes we need a guide. Without it, some of us make a real mess of our lives. "The blind leading the blind." The best guide you can have is the word of God. You cannot go wrong. You will learn about loving yourself and others. You will come to understand that you are not alone, and you have help with whatever you undertake. This is why Deacon Pinckney was so confident. He had serious backup! A never failing guide! He acknowledged God in all that he did. God kept His promise to never leave or forsake him. He had a win-win situation. There are no shortage of role models in the Bible. I am encouraged by the stories of Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach, Abenego, Job, Mary; the mother of Jesus, Peter and Paul to name a few. Each of these individuals were not perfect, but their faith in God got them through some really rough times and God allowed them to excel at what they were called to do. We continue to be blessed by their example. We give thanks for their example. We are grateful for their example.

What have you been called to do? Are you doing it? Do you feel qualified? Remember, Moses stuttered. Yet, he successfully led the children of Israel out of bondage under the Pharoah. Why? Because he did not do it in his own strength. He had a power source that is inexhaustible, fueled by love. We still have access to this power source. Remember, our story is still being written. With God's help, let's make it the best. We are not here simply to amass wealth and to act as though we designed the universe. We are here to be thankful and to love the creator who lovingly created us and the universe. We are here to love one another. When we messed up, God sent pure love, a gift, to redeem us! For this we say, "Thank you."

  1. How do you show gratitude for the chance each day to make a difference? When you wake up each morning, thank God that you did. In all things, give thanks. Trust me, your blessings are uniquely yours. Do not take them or the Giver of those blessings for granted. You do not like what you see in the world? Do something about it. Start with you, the man or woman in the mirror. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Ghandi. One person can make a difference just by the life you live. You cannot go to the past and change anything. Resolve that you are going to be better and then do better from this moment on.

  2. What will you pass on to the next generation? No one wants to think about leaving something for the next generation because it brings to mind the pesky little subject of "leaving." Be that as it may, life can be more rewarding when we face reality; when we live so that others view us as someone to emulate. They say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Go for it! Live your life as though others will follow your example. Because they will. As you live and breathe, generations will be impacted/influenced by your example.

  3. Everyone has a story. Be unselfish; share your story. Write things down; journal on purpose. Your children, grandchildren, godchildren, other family members and friends will be blessed by it. I am sure there will be some precious gems in it; pershaps more insight into you, and it might encourage them to appreciate even more your legacy and inspire them to live their best life. They might even be moved to follow your example.

  4. Lighten up. Laughter has its place. For goodness sake, do not take life or yourself so seriously. Leave room for light-heartedness. Smile. God did not bring us this far to leave us. He has given us family, friends, and acquaintances to share life with. Occasionally, even a stranger can provide a word of wisdom or encouragement. Live victoriously because in Him we have the victory. Laugh, because we have Him to share these loads (heavy and light) with. Lastly, love; because that is what makes it all worthwhile! In conclusion, thank you Deacon Benjamin Pinckney for a life well-lived. I endeavor each day to live up to the standard of excellence that you exemplified; a standard that was set by God. "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8. Rest in love! "Weeping my endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5.

Every day is a gift from God. Make the most of it!

Yours, Yvette

Thank you for your continued support. I remain appreciative. May God order your steps and bless you in every endeavor. May the positive actions that you take in your life each day reverberate for generations and bring forth good. God bless you!

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