Back to Basics – Thanksgiving Special

How being thankful helps navigate the puzzle of life

by TJ Freeman – November 22, 2018

Have you ever put a puzzle together?
You have the picture on the box that tells you what the puzzle is supposed to look like, but inside the box are hundreds — or even thousands of tiny pieces.
Any idea how many pieces are in the largest puzzle in the world? 40,320.

Can you imagine taking the time to put a puzzle like that together only to find out at the end that a few pieces are missing?
 Even if you had 99% of the pieces in place, all you would be able to focus on is the 1% that is missing.

Sometimes life is like that. You have a picture in your mind of what your life should look like, and you devote your time putting it all together, piece by piece.
One piece may be your education — you work hard and you lock it in place. Another may be a relationship — you hunt for it until you find the right piece and fit it into the puzzle. Another piece may be children — another you finances — another the purchase of a home — or a dream vacation.

Have you ever gotten the feeling that no matter how hard you work, your puzzle will always be incomplete?
 You give it your best effort, but you just can’t make all the pieces fit together.

So you get frustrated and try to force them – or you neglect the bigger picture because you’ve become obsessed with finding one missing piece.

Are you feeling incomplete? What is missing in your life?
 Maybe you long to feel accepted and loved. 
Maybe you don’t feel important or successful.
Maybe your life has become dull and routine. Maybe you’re frustrated — or angry — or hurt — or depressed. No matter how much of your puzzle is all put together — all you see when you look at your life is the missing pieces.

Sometimes when you are working on a puzzle and you get stuck, the best thing you can do is move to the other side of the table so you can see things from a fresh perspective. Instead of looking at your life like an incomplete puzzle, take some time today to look at things from another angle. You may be missing some pretty significant pieces, but even so, what you already have is pretty impressive!

Try taking some time today to make a list of all the things in your life you can be thankful for. You might even be surprised how long your list becomes! You may also be surprised at how this small exercise makes a big impact on your heart. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, “a grateful heart is a full heart, while an unthankful heart is an empty one.”
And Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

What brings me the most comfort and joy is remembering what it says in James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

God is the source of every blessing, and what I am most thankful for is the blessing of salvation.
 If you have trusted Christ as Savior — you have so much to be thankful for! Let the work of Christ lift your spirit today.
 And if you have not trusted Christ as Savior — you can be thankful that He’s giving you another opportunity right now to hear the good news — that all your sins can be forgiven. You can turn from your sin today, apologize to God for breaking His laws, ask for forgiveness through the blood of Christ and be redeemed.

If you’d like to learn more about what it means to follow Christ, you can contact Pastor TJ at

Idea/Concept: TJ Freeman
Videography: Ethan Chabala
Video Editing: Ethan Chabala
Writing: TJ Freeman

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Akiko’s Floral Arts, Sherwood Motel

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