LISTEN: Daniel Whyte III Preaches his Annual Thanksgiving Message Titled, Why I Thank God for My Imperfect, “Functional” Family

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

JOSHUA 24:15: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

We hear a lot about dysfunctional families in the popular discourse of the day. They are a staple of movies, TV shows, and books. The dysfunctional family is so prevalent that it might be considered the norm. And with extended families gathering all across this country on Thanksgiving Day, that dysfunction is anecdotally at an all time high. According to Merriam-Webster, the word “dysfunctional” means: “not functioning properly; marked by impaired or abnormal functioning; characterized by abnormal or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction.”

However, dysfunction does not have to be the norm, especially for Christian families. I am thankful today that my family, while not perfect by any means, is at least functional. My wife and I have been together for thirty years and we have seven children. We’re not perfect; we are all sinners. But, by the grace of God, we have for many years been a functional Christian family that has worked together in the service of Christ and his Church. We are marking our 30th Thanksgiving together this year, and we are also celebrating the publishing of ten books about Thanksgiving and gratitude.

1. I am thankful for the mercy and grace of God in my imperfect, but functional family. It does take a lot to live in community with other sinful human beings. We often buy into the lie that our wife, our husband, our children ought to be angelic, a far cry from the horror stories we hear about in the news of domestic violence, neglectful parents, and depressed children. But the truth is that your family is likely as messy as they come because each and every member — from the brand-new infant to the most gray-haired great-grandparent — is a stone-cold sinner with a desperately wicked heart. Only the mercy and grace of God can help a bunch of sinful human beings co-exist relatively peacefully in the same house for any length of time. And that mercy and grace is available to you in spades through Jesus Christ. God’s mercies are new every morning; and, living in any family, you will need it that frequently.

2. I am thankful for my imperfect, functional family having a purpose to live for. Rick Warren has written the books, The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life. I think he or someone ought to write The Purpose Driven Family. Every Christian family ought to be engaged in some kind of eternal purpose that is in service of God, the local Church, the local community, and the Church universal. My family has helped me in the ministry ever since our children were young. Having a purpose that goes beyond your family life and interpersonal relationships will help you weather the abundance of storms that will come your way.

3. I am thankful for my imperfect, functional family because it is a training ground for the future. Inevitably, in any family, children will grow up and family members will grow apart (geographically, at least). Many parents make the mistake of trying to cling to the family as it has always been (and, in this day and time, we have many young adults who try to do the same thing). But, it is perfectly natural for family members to launch out on their own and walk the specific path that God has for them. They are not abandoning the family, because no matter how much one tries, you never truly can do that. Instead the experiences, lessons, and discipline that each member learned while in the family will shape them for the future. Yes, there is friction in families, but friction is not always a bad thing. Friction is often a sign of function in families as when “iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” helping them prepare for the future.

Your family, like mine, isn’t perfect. But, through Jesus Christ and the principles found in the Bible, your family can be functional and bring glory to God by demonstrating his mercy and grace and fulfilling the Gospel-focused purpose that He has for you.


Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.