Below is Thanksgiving Day note from Jeff Jackson, the founder of Shepherd’s Staff, to the missionaries we facilitate. It reflects all of our hearts of thankfulness for those we facilitate here at the ministry.
Psalm 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
Psalm 116:17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD
As another Thanksgiving Day is upon us, I’d like to share two quick thoughts derived from these two verses on the subject of giving thanks to our amazing God.
FIRST, as Psalm 92:1 makes clear, it is GOOD to give thanks to the Lord! Of all the good that you long to do for others to bless them and glorify Him, have you ever considered the declaration of thankfulness to Him in the presence of others to be one of the good things you can do for them?
Simply put, expressing thankfulness to Him in the presence of others glorifies Him, introduces a radically different, God-filtered perspective on things for others, and is a blessing and encouragement to you when you do it.
SECOND, as Psalm 116:17 makes clear, there are times when giving God thanks costs us a great deal–when thankfulness is a SACRIFICE. Have you ever considered this idea? That your giving thanks to God in spite of the many trials and tribulations you encounter as a missionary, requires a level of self-denial that really does qualify as sacrificial?
Simply put, if you’re in a challenging season of life and ministry that is nothing like you envisioned it being and you’re struggling to be thankful to Him, but you thank Him anyway, please know that He recognizes that your thankfulness has cost you dearly, and that He will honor your sacrifice of thanksgiving.
And even if you’re not struggling with giving Him thanks right now, I believe you will be blessed by the “Missionary’s Prayer” that I’ve included below. It was written by Marvin Newell, one of the leaders of Missio Nexus. Although it contains a few thoughts that come from the more traditional missions agency realm, it contains a number of things that you’ve probably already thanked the Lord for, along with quite a few other things that you may not have considered expressing your thanks to Him for.
Finally, on behalf of Ron, Kathi, Angie, John, Pat, Tim, Carlos, Ed, and myself, all of us here at Shepherd’s Staff want to tell you how thankful we are that you continue to give us the ongoing privilege of serving you.
With overflowing thankfulness,
The Missionary’s Prayer
Dear Lord Jesus, I am grateful that…
You have granted me the privilege to serve you cross-culturally.
You have given me a burden for these people to whom you have sent me.
You have given me a passion to serve you and these people well.
I thank you that…
I am sent out by my mission-minded church as their ambassador.
I am upheld in prayer by many persevering saints.
I am financially supported by a faithful support team.
I receive on-going moral support from many who encourage.
I am well supplied and technologically connected.
I have the government’s permission to live in this country to which you have called me.
I have valuable coworkers who help share the work.
I have discerning national partners who help direct my way.
I have an understanding spouse who gracefully shares the load.
I have a good grasp of the language, so I may communicate well.
I have a growing understanding of the culture so I may fit in well.
I have a familiarity with these people’s worldview so I may not be judgmental.
I have the inspiring examples of many others who served cross-culturally before me.
I have superintending leaders who want to see me and this work succeed.
I have your Word that is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
I have your presence that promises help whether in danger or keeping me from it.
I have your Spirit that enlightens, counsels and comforts me.
I have opportunity to pray that reminds me to, by faith, depend on you.
I have, by my presence here, a testimony of light within this darkened community.
Additionally, I thank you that…
I am no longer mono-cultural with truncated life experiences.
I am no longer monolingual with the limitations of speaking just one language.
I am no longer fixated on one country, but am willing to live as a sojourner any where.
I am no longer entangled in worldly possessions or affairs that distract from your calling.
I am no longer looking backward, but forward and upward to what is yet to come.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the honor of serving as your missionary – as a bearer of your gospel – at this particular time and in this specific place.
Jeff Jackson is the founder of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators, previously served with his family church planting in the central Philippines. He has planted churches in the United States and continues to serve as a church plating coach for missionaries. Shepherd’s Staff facilitates churches who send their own. We do that through facilitative coaching for local churches and their missionaries in their Great Commission endeavors, and providing administrative services for local churches to send missionaries with excellence.