Pastor John Nipper provided a message on Thanksgiving for last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Nipper, the interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Monett, recounted how the Pilgrims landed in New England in 1620. The Pilgrims sought to escape religious persecution in England by relocating in the Virginia colony in North America.
Landing in a much colder territory than expected proved disastrous for the Pilgrims. Half the group died in the first winter from exposure and lack of food. In the following growing season, Native Americans helped the Pilgrims plant local crops, resulting in a bountiful harvest.
|Pilgrim leader William Bradford asked the community to go to their church and give Thanksgiving to God for three hours in return for the blessings they received.||Nipper suggested the Kiwanians view their blessings as a personal gift.|
Turning to his own experience, Nipper told how his wife, Charlotte, passed away in 1997 and his son died last year. Instead of expressing remorse or bitterness, Nipper said he went to church and gave thanks for the 33 years he and his wife shared, and for having his son as long as he did.
Nipper told his congregation, "God is good."
The Pilgrims, despite their hardships, came to understand the same message. They expressed their feelings with grace and humility.
"Studies show people who are grateful and joyous live better and happier lives than those who complain all the time," Nipper said. "Be grateful to the Lord. In whatever happens, you can always look at the good."
In America, a land of plenty, Nipper said it has become less common for people to give thanks. He encouraged his audience to be grateful for what they have, even as the poor Jamaican man who got up in the morning and had only a cup of hot tea for his meal.
Kiwanis President Gordon Brown presided at the meeting. Norm Hammond was the program chairman.
In club news, the annual party for children will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the First United Methodist Church.
The Key Club asked for assistance by club members in ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at the Walmart Supercenter in Monett on Dec. 14 and 15. Three Key Club members and their sponsor at Monett High School, Amber Nicholson, attended the meeting.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.