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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

A Pastor’s Thanksgiving List

It’s that time of year, where our hearts turn toward things we are thankful for.  Thanksgving is far too important a habit to only do once per year.  Zig Ziglar was right: “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

Sounds like something we ought to cultivate year-round!  So here’s my list of 10 things I’m thankful for as a pastor:

1. Thank you, Lord, for saving me, and for your sanctifying work in my heart.

The day I feel like I’ve arrived is the day I stop leading people deeper into Christ.  Don’t ever let me get over the shock of the Gospel, or the hunger for more holiness.

2. Thank you, Lord, for calling me into the work of a pastor.

It’s a privilege to help the Great Shepherd care for His sheep.  Thanks for inviting me to participate in leading your people.  Don’t let me use them, resent them, or mislead them.  Let me be patient with them like you are with me.

3. Thank you, Lord, for my wife.

Darrell and Elizabeth Stetler

My wife Elizabeth and I

She could have done anything.  She could have had a safe house and life in a small town.  She could have lived where the helicopter doesn’t circle.  But she was willing to live in an exemplary way, in the “fishbowl” of a pastor’s home, and serve God’s people in that way.   Thank you for her unselfish commitment to the Kingdom… and me.

4. Thank you, Lord, for my family.


Grace, Darrell III, Heath, Caleb, Gideon and Will

They take the benefits and sacrifices with grace and sweetness.  Please help me be faithful to them, and to pastor the little church in my home first.

5. Thank you, Lord, for my spiritual heritage.

Granddaddy Agan – a great man and preacher

Four Stetler Generations

I remember today that I stand on the shoulders of those before me.  Thank you for their prayers, their example, their faithfulness.  Thank you for the stores of wisdom and prayer that are there for me to draw on.

6. Thank you, Lord, for my successes… & failures.

My successes keep me trusting that I’m making a difference.  Thank you for giving me enough hits to have the courage to keep swinging the bat.

My failures keep me humble, and learning.  Thanks for helping me not be destroyed by them.  Thank you that I’m not always right.  When I fall, help me learn to pick up something while I’m down there.

7. Thank you, Lord, for the volunteers who serve with me.

They lift the load in so many ways.  Bless them today, and make their reward great.  Let them feel my gratitude and Your smile.

8. Thank you, Lord for the people who willingly follow.

It’s such a blessing to have some who gladly do right.  Sorry I sometimes forget them in the rush to go after those who stray.  Thank you that everyone is not wandering or resisting… that some let me do my worth with joy & not heaviness of heart.

9. Thank you, Lord, that my self-worth is not wrapped up in what people think of me.

I rest in what you see.  I rest in your definition of success.  They don’t have to like me… or my preaching… or vote for me… or give in the offering… or support my latest idea… for my ministry to be acceptable in your sight.

10. Thank you, Lord for strengthening my resolve.

When I think that I can’t go on, you step in and strengthen me.  I’m grateful.

What things are you most thankful for?  Share in the comments or on my Facebook page.

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