little boy laughing with a bible in his hand

Thankful through it all

Extraordinary. Unprecedented. Unexpected. These are words that are far too familiar to most of us, looking backwards at two plus years of “new normals” and looking forward into the next normals of economic, geo-political, cultural, and health uncertainty. That all sounds a bit dark and is an odd way to begin a Thanksgiving email. But…It’s true. The world feels shaky. We all feel shaken, and it often feels hard to be truly thankful. 

Some of you receiving this email may not know me personally. I came to Masterworks six years ago and joined a team that has a long history of faithful service to Christian organizations, helping them grow through times of plenty and times of leanness. I observed almost immediately how quick they were to give thanks for what God has done, is doing, and will do, even in the face of the challenges that Christian organizations face on a daily basis. 

I also gained a new appreciation that the only constant in the work we do is the challenge and change of it. It is never automatic, seldom simple, and always full of challenges of a variety of kinds. Because things are perpetually changing, the only thing that keeps us anchored is a heart of contented gratitude for what God has done and an eager anticipation of what He will do next. Giving thanks is the fuel that gives us the energy to continue to swim, even when the currents of culture, global crises, leadership changes, and economic pressures are against us.

As they sojourned from Egypt, the Israelites lost their way when they began to fixate on their current predicaments—our food is gone, our water is gone, our bodies are tired, we are lost. When the moment became too much for them to bear, they veered into solving their own problems in their own strength, and that’s when they got into real trouble. But, on their better days, when they stopped, raised an Ebenezer, remembered all that they had to be thankful for, and actually gave thanks to the God who got them there in the first place, the river didn’t seem quite as wide, the path didn’t appear quite as dark, and the giants didn’t appear quite as tall. Their worship songs reflected this reality: “Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He uttered” Psalm 105:5 ESV.

Thankfulness invites God to come in and do His work in us and for us again. Being thankful reorients us to God’s kindness toward us and reminds us that as we remain faithful to His call, we are able to walk forward even when the path in front of us is unclear or unfamiliar. I invite you to join me this Thanksgiving season in stopping, remembering, and giving God thanks for all that He has done. From those simple actions flows the confidence we need to continue forward on the path that He has called us to walk.

Bryan Brown

P.S.  Some of you may have also heard about my transition into the role of President here at Masterworks. If not, you can read a note from Steve Woodworth here. I only mention it because I would be extremely thankful if you would keep me in your prayers during this season. If you would like to connect with me personally, please feel free to email me as well.