“Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years”
Episode 39: A senior's role in Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving approaches in a season of division, seniors may be searching for their role in navigating the Thanksgiving holiday. Hal and Randy discuss the fundamental attitude of gratitude and what that looks like for seniors at the family gathering.
Dr Randy Hess 0:09
Greetings, folks. Welcome back to finishing well podcast. If you are 65 or older, we welcome you as a part of our senior generation team. And if you're younger, we welcome you as the next generation team as well. We're glad you're here today. My name is Randy Hess. And I'm just delighted to be a part of this ministry. I'm here with how the group, my good friend who launched this ministry back in 2015, and we have been doing this podcast now for almost a year. We're just grateful for the opportunity to visit with you and share some of our thoughts and ideas about finishing Well, good morning, how
Dr Hal Habecker 0:53
the morning, Randy, it's great to be with you again, I love teaming up in this project. And I pray that God will give us a good time today, as we talk about something that's critically important in the calendar of our year. Is that right? Randy?
Dr Randy Hess 1:11
Yes, kind of Yeah, it is to us anyway. Yes. And I think to everybody in our country.
Dr Hal Habecker 1:16
That is correct. We want to talk this morning about the importance of thanksgiving and our roles, whether we're a grand father, a grandmother, a dad or mom, and really whatever our age, you mentioned, this is primarily for people 65 or older. But you know, if you're a dad at any age, we hope that this podcast is an encouragement to you. I want to talk about we want to talk about together the importance of giving thanks. Next week is Thanksgiving, and investing time with our families in the giving of thanks. And it's my conviction even as we grow older, we have more reasons to be thankful. And we'll talk about that as we go along. That sounds good. Randy.
Dr Randy Hess 2:07
Sounds great. That's a that's a topic that's a big one on both of our hearts, I think
Dr Hal Habecker 2:12
really is. So let me set the stage by just mentioning a few scriptures. And even before I mentioned them, I just want to just reinforce the importance of gratitude. I think Gratitude is the fundamental value in the spiritual life and a Christians life. You know, Paul says it very well in First Thessalonians 518 In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I mean, you think about that in maybe not not necessarily for everything because there were things that are challenging. But in everything, give thanks for this is God's will, God's will for you is that you live a thankful life, live every day with a heart full of gratitude as opposed to bitterness and complaining. So let me give you a couple other scriptures Randy to think about. The one I love about Thanksgiving is the story in Luke 17, verses 11 to 19. He's coming into town, and he's met outside of town by 10 lepers. And they cry, Lord, Jesus have mercy on us. They want to be healed from their leprosy. So Jesus generously graciously extends healing to them. And he says, Go show yourself to the priest. And as they were going, they were healed. And then something fascinating is recorded by Luke in his memory of his interviews on this story, only one returns to Jesus. And the text notes, he was a Samaritan. He was a foreigner. The implication is the other nine were Jews, they should have had even more reason to be thankful. But only the Samaritan returns to give things to Jesus. And Jesus asked this penetrating question, Where where are the other nine weren't their nine? Where are they? Why is it that you as a Samaritan are the only one to return? I think about that every day in my life. I think about all the reasons we have to be thankful. And I hear Jesus say, Well, why aren't you thankful? How Baker, what were the other nine when they thought to come back and take me for healing them from this terrible disease that afflicts them and causes them to be outsiders and the community. So that's The first thing that comes to me in thanksgiving, where are the other nine? You know, why aren't? Why aren't we all celebrating the importance of thanksgiving and giving thanks to God in our lives? Let me mention a couple other brief verses, just kind of setting the stage for our discussion. You know, in Mark eight, six, and in all the parallel stories of Jesus feeding the 5000, Jesus breaks the bread, and he give, he gives thanks. You know, he taught his disciples in the Lord's Prayer, Give us this day, our daily bread, and the application is of God's going to give us give it to us, thank him for it. So here he visa 5000. And he starts by giving thanks. You know, the other one that just grips me there's one or two more, let me just put them out in the table in Luke 2214, through 19, Luke records Jesus version of The Last Supper, the Passover. And then each one of the bread and the cup. It says, Jesus says, Thank you. And he gave thanks for the bread, which was his body, which was about to be broken. And he gave thanks for the cup, the wine, which was his blood, which was about to be shed, to cover sin I, I'm moved by that I don't know how many times I have officiated a communion service, hundreds, undoubtably. And then everyone I always say, and he gave thanks. And we pause, and we give thanks for his body, and his blood, which was shed for us. I mean, you talk about being thankful, is there any better reason to be thankful than looking at Jesus life when he gave thanks for his body which was given for us. And then he says, Take eat among yourselves.
The last one I want to share is Psalm 100, is a favorite psalm of mine that I love quoting Psalm 100. But just the last two verses, verses four and five, the text says, Give thanks to the Lord, there is Give thanks to the Lord, or he is good, and bless His name, His loving kindness is everlasting, and his faithfulness to all generations, you know, how many generations have passed since this Psalm was written. But every day, you know, we give thanks to God for His goodness for His grace, for his presence in our lives. So you know, those are all verses that to me, remind us of the importance of being thankful. So that's, we just want to set the stage on that. So let's pick it up. From there, Randy, let's go back and forth, what are some things were thankful for one, encourage others to be thankful for?
Dr Randy Hess 8:04
Wow, first of all face for this message. It's very important, I think, to us, as a message for our families, as a message for our friends and our, our neighbors, or our church, friends and acquaintances, to let them know that we do have a grateful heart, and we are very thankful for what, whatever our situation is, we're thankful to the Lord for it. You know, as in many other situations, how I think we, as senior people actually represent more than we think we do. In our families, let's start with that. And, and I and our observed cost, are watched costume are, are seen more than we possibly think by young eyes, in our family, by other eyes, in our family, by people listening to us. They don't necessarily give any indication that what we're saying about something or not saying what we're doing about something or not doing is being observed and and letting us know. Wow, I didn't know you felt that way. I didn't know you thought that way. I didn't know you acted that way. That's interesting to me, cuz you are the senior person around here. And you must have some reason for it. I think how the more our hearts show thankfulness, the more it rubs off. More as seen, the more is paid attention to the more influences, especially people who are loved ones to us that we want to influence. So I'll start with that. I think we have an impact that we are thankful for where we are what we have, no matter what it is what situation we're in. We're thankful to the Lord. And we're grateful. And we want others to see that.
Dr Hal Habecker 10:17
Well, you're so right, Randy. And, you know, parenthetical Lee, the reason for this podcast on Thanksgiving is I want to encourage every one of our listeners, and you our listeners can encourage everyone that you know who your peer group to model Thanksgiving, you know, how will you do it at the Thanksgiving table? How will you do it with your kids and your grandkids sitting around the table? Watching TV watching football games? Or? I mean, what will your conversations be? Will they be around politics or things you don't like or griping about this? Or that? Or will you on this de model, I mean, maybe not 100% of your words, but what you model a spirit of gratitude and everything we do, and we you set the tone for that. And that would be our encouragement this day that every person listening to our voices would set the tone for gratitude. Because I think that's part of a responsibility of aging people, aging people who follow Christ, we are grateful people are grateful for him. And we want to set a tone. And by the way, Thanksgiving is the first of our holidays. So every time our kids or grandkids or friends are with us on this holiday in any holiday we ought to be setting and every day in our home, shouldn't we setting the tone of gratitude for others around us? You're so right, Randy,
Dr Randy Hess 11:41
it's important, very important to to get a handle on the example I'm setting really is firstly, to grasp it, and then to, to understand what what kind of what, what kind of model I'm representing and what kind of model I'm showing,
Dr Hal Habecker 12:02
you know, just let's touch base on some basic things to be grateful for, you know, being grateful for the gift of life, you know, in your own life. But you know, one of the things I think about as I age, I have more years to think about the goodness of God in my life. So these added years or more opportunities to be grateful for the extended yours that I have really hadn't mentioned anything to you about this, but I was with somebody on Wednesday 102 pounds, and you know, she was not wanting to go to heaven. She her attitude was, I'm grateful every day that God gives me because there's a purpose in it. And I want to give my life away. So I'm grateful for the extended years that God has given me. You know, David said, what threescore and 10, maybe a by strength at thing Moses said that Psalm 90, but you know, God gave David 70 years and then he was finished. So whatever our extended years are, let's use them to be grateful.
Dr Randy Hess 13:07
That's a key point how, and I don't think it can be emphasized enough. If we show it, it'll it'll rub off on others.
Dr Hal Habecker 13:15
Just share with your family. This thing, I'm grateful to be here. I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the gift of family. I'm grateful for the gift of uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, children, grandchildren, I'm grateful for friends that God has given us, you know, I think it'd be important to go around the table, or the living room or wherever you're gathered are playing baseball or football in the front yard. You know, who are the people you're grateful for today? You know, how has it guide us others in your life. And you start by naming them yourself, you set the tone in a sense of being grateful. When we have a grandson who when he was born, we weren't sure he was going to live. He's, he's a wonderful little guy we love I love all my six grandkids. I'm grateful for them. Grateful for my wife, you know, my, my adult children, my sons in law, I may just, you know, I'm just terribly grateful for who God is and what He has done in my life.
Dr Randy Hess 14:19
That's awesome. How. And I think we all have that kind of opportunity, I guess I'd say in our lives to be that if we can make sure we think about it and make sure it's on our mind, especially around this time of year. But he all the year long too. You know, I really got into the notion of gratitude for myself. Back in 2008 when I had cancer, and during that period where I was fighting it with chemo things were removed from me that I hadn't had removed from me in my life before many things but one of the things That happened to me because of the chemo as I lost my sense of taste. In fact, all food tasted horrible. So I lost a lot of weight as possible as a result of that. Anyway, when I got done with chemo, and I thank the Lord for all the days I've had since then, regularly, I, I just started being very thankful, Lord, to the Lord for being able to taste food, that it tastes good, that I enjoy it, to be able to taste liquids and water, and it not taste weird. So anyway, sometimes the Lord has a way in the trials that you face, a bring your points to you that you didn't ever think about before. And there's simple things with our critical things to your existence. And I think it's an it's a really interesting way of allowing you to say, Lord, I was, I was I maybe I wasn't, maybe I wasn't egotistical about it. But I certainly was ignorant of the fact that there are so many things that I take for granted in my life that I that I shouldn't have, I should be grateful for every day, and acknowledge that every day
Dr Hal Habecker 16:22
was so true. And you bring up another truth of being thankful, Randy, being thankful for hardships and challenges in our lives. You know, what do we learn through those hardships, you just share one of your going through the Battle of cancer, and how God developed a deeper attitude of gratitude, you know, in your life, but you know, every challenge we go through is an opportunity to be grateful for what God has is and will teach us through these challenges as we age. You know, in Second Corinthians 11, and 12, Paul talks about boasting in his weakness, you know, he had the thorn in the flesh. And he was afflicted not only by that, but a lot of hardships. And he says, I will boast in my weakness, that the power may be and will be of God and not of Me. I'm a what a powerful statement, to be grateful for hardships, you know, and even the verse we all know, Philippians, four, six, Be anxious for nothing. But in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. let your requests be made known to God. I mean, it says everything about us every problem we have every hardship, every disappointment, every sad note, every tragedy has with it, something of God's sustaining power and grace in our lives.
Dr Randy Hess 17:58
Why that is so true. That's, we can't see you can't see that enough. Now. I just think that's so true.
Dr Hal Habecker 18:06
You know, as we talk about this, is there anything in Jesus life for which he was not grateful? Man, I imagined following him around, not just in the three years, the disciples followed Him, but all of his life, his first 30 years, you know, as he thought and contemplated. And we were recorded what happened when he was 12, in his father's house, being about his father's business, but he was that way from 12, to age 30. And then we saw everything that happened. And I think every day he was grateful, yes, he had hardships. And yes, he came to die on the cross for our sins. And he was raised the third day, but he was always grateful for what his father had given him to do. And the opportunity to show people his father's heart, which was a heart of love is just incredible, isn't it? Randy?
Dr Randy Hess 19:01
It is so unbelievable.
Dr Hal Habecker 19:03
You know, another quick thought before we wrap this up here, you may be alone, your spouse may not be with you, your spouse may have gone on to heaven. And you may be alone, family members, sons or daughters. Not everybody may be at the table as you might have wished. But I want to encourage us all, even in those hardship kind of situations, continue to encourage your family and others people in your church, people in your community, people who are going through hardships, encourage them with your own attitude of gratitude, gratefulness, and encourage them in a very special way. I think it's something that God wants to do in our lives.
Dr Randy Hess 19:52
I agree how I think it's important for us not only to just show that but to just remind ourselves What we have that is totally, totally in the control of and under the governance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, and simply remind ourselves of that every day how painful to get up in the morning, rankling because as a senior, I can have my gripes I can have my, as you mentioned, there can be downers, there can be aches and pains that I'm facing every day I live. But I have a different outlook than I have now about that, which is if I want to complain about it, and gripe about it, and kind of wallow in it. That that I will get more attention maybe or I will in some way or shape or form, feel better about the day. And our argument is in finishing well, you will actually experience more joy in your day, by changing your whole attitude, not denying your pain. Not saying we're not playing doctor here where we're saying you really don't have any pain. Please don't hear that. We are saying though that if you can deal with your pain as best you can not ignore it, deal with it. If you need to. If you need help with it, get that help. But in getting past it, you will see opportunities to make a difference for others. And that's where the joy will come. A whole new feeling.
Dr Hal Habecker 21:43
Randy let me close in a unique way. This just came to me. There's a song you talked about the impact of parents and their kids. There's a song My mother taught me when I was a young child and I've sung it at least echoed the words in my mind nearly every day of my life. I'm gonna sing it for you. I don't know what you'll think as you hear it out our audience
Dr Randy Hess 22:06
I think you've got the voice word house so I'm going home for
Dr Hal Habecker 22:10
let me just sink two verses it goes like this. I owe the Lord morning song of gratitude and praise for the kind mercies he has shown in length Nene out my days. He kept me say fun other night. I see another day. Now may His spirit as the light, direct me in his way. It was written by a Mennonite preacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, two centuries ago. Anyways, thanks for being with us. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving Day and I hope that blesses it. And I will encourage each of us whatever our roles are, to influence others and to set an example of being grateful and giving thanks. Thanks for being with us. God bless you and happy Thanksgiving.