SERMON TITLE: “Seek Ye First: Thanks”
SERMON TEXT: Romans 1:1-17
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: October 31, 2021, at First UMC
Wasn’t it great to have our Craft Fair on Friday and Saturday?! Having the hubbub and voices in the Narthex and nearby rooms felt very nice. Even though we were wearing masks, it felt like a comforting return to life as it used to be before the COVID pandemic. Last year, we weren’t able to have a Craft Fair, and—even as the United Methodist Women were making plans earlier this year—they weren’t sure we would be able to do it this fall. But, thanks to God and COVID vaccines, the Craft Fair turned out to be a viable event.
I’m so grateful that booster shots are now available for people 65 and over and for people who have extra health problems. And the expectation that children’s vaccinations will soon be possible gives us another reason to rejoice and give thanks. Social distancing and mask wearing continue to be important, of course. But, as COVID specialists around the country have repeatedly said, “One strategy continues to be more effective than any other in beating back the pandemic: ‘Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine.’” As a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist said it, “‘Our top goal has to be . . . shots in arms [first].’”1
When we get our priorities straight and put first things first, everything else becomes easier to manage. As our “Seek Ye First” stewardship theme has emphasized over these past weeks, that’s especially true when we put God first. As we read from Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, when we seek God first, we’re able to worry less about our material needs. As we read from Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 26, when we seek God first, by giving God our first fruits, then we’re able to live well in the land. As we read last Sunday from the letter of First John, when we seek God first, we’re reminded that God first loved us and that God calls us to love one another. And, as we just read from Romans 1, when we seek God first, we’re able to give thanks. Let’s take some minutes this morning to unpack that last thought. Let’s see what Paul meant and how we too might seek God first by giving thanks.