If you're like me, when you stop to consider the meaning of Thanksgiving Day, it can leave you feeling a little unsettled. The reason being is that it is not easy living in this world of busyness to live a life of thanksgiving. We simply do not slow down enough to be thankful.
Nestled in the closing remarks of the new testament letter of 1 Thessalonians, verses 16-18 of chapter 5 (1 Thess. 5:16-18), are three exhortations that can help us in being thankful on a daily basis. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Let’s briefly consider them.
Rejoice always. Paul is to the point. The key here is always. Experiencing joy, for the Christian, is not determined by circumstances as though our joy ebbs and flows like the tide. But rather joy, for the Christian, shapes the experience of our circumstances. In other words, difficulties are not to diminish the Christians’ joy but are to be endured with joy as the Holy Spirit creates a wellness of soul that cannot be dampened by adverse situations. Now we are not passive in possessing joy. It is a pursuit, a choice that we make to focus our hearts and minds on the grace and goodness of God in Christ Jesus. Just as the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:2-3)
Pray without ceasing. Don’t be afraid. Paul is not commanding that we walk around, or even worse, drive, with our eyes closed and our heads bowed. No, praying without ceasing reminds us to live every moment of the day aware that we are in the presence of God. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, which celebrates 500 years this year (2017), called this living life Coram Deo (Latin), before the face of God. When we live Coram Deo and are being led by the Holy Spirit, we will be more prayerful. More prayerful for ourselves and our neighbor. And it’s hard to remain angry with or refuse to forgive someone when you are praying for them.
Give thanks in all circumstances. This command is only possible when we trust our sovereign Savior by recognizing God’s providence in all circumstances. A thankful spirit is not natural to humans. Because of sin, we are naturally unthankful and untrusting. But God, in His wisdom, gives us a command like this that pushes us beyond our human capacity into the heavenly realm of God’s grace that empowers faith to believe that He does work all things together for good to those who love him and are committed to obedience (Rom. 8:28). He will create thankfulness that flows out of trusting Him.
Verse 18 has a second part that is beautiful in that the gospel of hope is proclaimed to us since we do not possess the ability, in ourselves, to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Paul says, “…this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When coupled with Philippians 2:13 which says, “…it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” we are reminded that God is creating joy, awareness of Him, and thankfulness in His people every day.
May God help us live a life of thanksgiving as we learn to stop frequently and rejoice, pray, and give thanks for what He has done and is doing in our lives.
Chaplain James Chavis
The Barnabas Awards began a couple of years ago, designed by our leadership team to have our employees select the people who, on a quarterly and annual basis, inspire them to be their best by living the values of our Barnabas Culture.
Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, serves as an example of many attributes necessary for HealthKeeperz to operate as a strong, vibrant, Christ-honoring organization. Our approach to providing the highest standard of community-based health care services to the people of North Carolina, defined as our Barnabas Culture, seeks to promote and recognize HealthKeeperz team members who have served our company, our patients, and our people by being a Barnabas.
Colleagues recognized at our quarterly and annual Barnabas Awards contribute to the HealthKeeperz mission of caring for all people for the glory of God. The ultimate goal of the Barnabas Culture at HealthKeeperz is to build a community of caregivers who are caring, selfless, humble, and encourage their teammates.
In this new series, Portraits of Barnabas, we will highlight the winners of the award. We’ll start with Janet Locklear of our hospice care division, winner of the Barnabas Award for her leadership in the first quarter of this year. Let’s take a look at how Janet Locklear goes about supporting her colleagues, from the words of her teammates themselves—when a Barnabas Award nomination is submitted, the nominator addresses each of the values associated with the award.
Caring: Janet Locklear’s caring personality is indiscriminate, there for all. According to a colleague, her “main concern is that patients, coworkers, and citizens of our communities have the support network they need in a time of crisis. She will not only exhaust herself, but also pull others together to get people the support they need.”
Selfless: Another colleague described Janet’s commitment to others, to her colleagues as well as patients and their families. “Recently Jan, as she often does, sacrificed much of her weekend for a hospice patient and her family. Jan wasn’t on call this weekend, but when the request came for additional assistance, she didn’t hesitate. The patient’s decline was sudden and a tremendous shock for the family. Jan not only came in the middle of the night on a Friday, but also returned Saturday and Sunday night to provide support for the family.
Humble: One of Janet’s colleagues described at least two occasions where Janet coordinated monetary collections for people in need, one for displaced hurricane victims, and another for a pediatric hospice patient’s family. “She was willing to do all the work to collect the money, even working after hours to drive around to people’s homes to collect the money. Janet has never spoken of this as something that she did, but rather something the hospice team did.”
Encouraging: This short quote says it all with regard to Janet’s loving, encouraging spirit: “I know of at least a couple of times that different coworkers reached out to Janet when they were down, because they know that she will listen and encourage them.
The HealthKeeperz family would like to again congratulate Janet Locklear, winner of our Barnabas Award for the first quarter of 2017. Stay tuned to learn more about our previous Barnabas Award winners in the coming months.
HealthKeeperz employees, family members, and friends gathered on October 14 at Camp Grace in southern Robeson County for the company’s annual Family Day celebration.
More than 100 people from every division of the company and multiple locations across North Carolina convened on the grounds of Camp Grace, a privately-owned, Christian recreational site in Fairmont. Camp Grace features a scenic lake, swimming hole, fields, and outdoor activity covers.
Gathering for fun, food, and fellowship, the HealthKeeperz team was treated to a catered feast featuring pulled pork, baked chicken, and all the traditional NC sides of potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans.
The group enjoyed a diverse group of activities, including paddle boating, canoeing, bouncers, basketball, and life-sized foosball.
“The purpose of our Family Day is to create an opportunity for our people to have fellowship with each other outside of our normal work environments,” said HealthKeeperz President Tim Brooks. “We always enjoy every opportunity to connect with our HealthKeeperz family on a different level.”
Brooks noted that Family Day is another way of boosting the company’s Barnabas Culture. “When you have a company culture that prizes selflessness, humility, caring, and encouragement above all things when dealing with each other at work, you need to see your colleagues not just as professional partners, but as human beings,” said Brooks. “These are the times when we see our colleagues with their spouses and children, and it becomes very real why we all work—to support our families and help our spouses and children realize their dreams.”
At HealthKeeperz, we treat each other like family, and one of our defining values as a company is putting our families first. If you’re looking for a company that values you as an individual and your commitment to your family, we invite you to visit our Careers page, take a look at any openings that may be a good fit for you, and contact us to start the hiring process.