Pastor, Grace UMC, Sherman
It was several years after graduating from college in 1987 before I began to explore a call to ministry, and I'll always thank God that I found my way into work that fed me in soul as well as paying the bills.
For the majority of my eight years with The Container Store, I worked in the distribution center alongside some really fine folks from whom I learned a great deal.
The majority of them never had access to college or many of the other opportunities I had enjoyed in life.
As I like to say, I have wasted more opportunity in life than most people ever have.
It took a while, but working with those folks taught me to make the most out of the things God has granted me — time, talent, relationship and opportunity.
As a pastor, it is my responsibility to lead others toward an "attitude of gratitude" for the blessings God bestows on us.
Those blessings are not to be taken for granted, nor to be wasted.
The privileges I've enjoyed in my life simply because of the circumstances of my birth weren't given to me for my own benefit, but so that I use them to serve the Lord more effectively.
The congregations I have served as pastor have each helped me to find new ways to be thankful, as we engage with people of all kinds in ministry.
And I have followed the advice of one of my former pastors, the Rev. Milton Guttierrez, in finding some gift of service to offer in addition to my work of ministry.
The best way I know to keep an attitude of gratitude?
To pray, in the words of John Wesley: "I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will. … I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal."