On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the gifts that former president Jimmy Carter brings to my life. Carol and I have just finished reading his devotional book, Through the Year with Jimmy Carter. It is an excellent distillation of his faith and values. I am inspired by the consistency with which he has lived his faith before, during and after his years in the White House. I am impressed that a world leader teaches Sunday school in a small rural Baptist church. Carol and I were blessed to hear him teach Sunday school a few years back. He made the beautiful wooden offering plates and the cross for the church with the tools given him by his staff when he left office. He and Rosalyn take their turns helping maintain the church functions. He is a celebrity and he uses that status to be a missionary to all those who visit his class. It is strictly a Sunday school class with no politics whatsoever. He is not ashamed to proclaim his Christianity nor is he ashamed to call himself a Baptist.

He is respectful of all those who come to hear him without regard to which faith tradition they claim. Although I have met him several times, I do not know him personally nor would he recognize or remember me; however, that does not lessen the gratitude I feel for his influence on my life. Carol and I were at the first New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta that he created. He continues that effort today. In fact Robert Parham, Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics recently said, “Only Carter can herd a large number of opinionated, turf-protecting, anxiety-ridden Baptists into a common direction for righteousness sake. He did it again last week.”  His deep love for humanity has brought help, comfort and hope to millions of people around the world. He is a great peace maker. On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the contributions that former president Jimmy Carter continues to make to my life, the country and the world.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our appreciation. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad you did.