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Martin Rinkert was a minister in the little town of Eilenburg in Germany some 350 years ago. He was the son of a poor coppersmith, but somehow, he managed to work his way through an education.

Finally, in the year 1617, he was offered the post of Archdeacon in his hometown parish. A year later, what has come to be known as the Thirty-Years-War broke out. His town was caught right in the middle. In 1637, the massive plague that swept across the continent hit Eilenburg… people died at the rate of fifty a day and the man called upon to bury most of them was Martin Rinkert. In all, overĀ 8,000 people died, including Martin’s own wife.

His labors finally came to an end about 11 years later, just one year after the conclusion of the war. His ministry spanned 32 years, all but the first and the last overwhelmed by the great conflict that engulfed his town. Tough circumstances in which to be thankful. But he managed. And he wrote these words:

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.

It takes a magnificent spirit to come through such hardship and express gratitude. Here is a great lesson. Surrounded by tremendous adversity, thanksgiving will deliver you…with heart and hand and voices.

Source: Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com, Nov. 2002.

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