At least once each year, we are compelled to consider what things we are thankful for, and then to give thanks for them. But if we only show gratitude for the blessings in our lives once each year, are we truly thankful? How many times on an average day do you say or type ‘thanks’ to others? From the time we start talking, we are often prompted by our parents to say thank you, to the degree that it may become automatic. Maybe even like saying grace before a meal. Does saying something make it true, even if we don’t feel thankful when we say it? Possibly. A practice I have started over this past year is to finish my email or text messages with a simple ‘thanks’, whether I think it is warranted or not. Especially when some messages could be interpreted as harsh or uncaring, this seems to buffer it a bit. Also, it does seem to make me a little more appreciative of things such as having a job, working with others, being in the game, and appreciating my family a little more. What things are you most thankful for that you often take for granted?
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
There are a few teachers and professors who I haven’t seen since I have left school that I have always wanted to tell them how much I appreciated something they had done or said to me. Does me not telling them something make it any less meaningful to me? I know some of these school teachers have since passed away, as have other people I have loved and appreciated in my life but didn’t always get to say thanks to them while they were still here. I found out this past week that one older gentleman my father and I had gotten to know over the past 5-10 years had just passed away. I shared a story in the card I wrote to his family about an act of kindness he showed to me once that I really appreciated. Whether now or later, I think it is good to share stories of unselfishness that we have experienced. Who are some people you have appreciated in your life? Do they know how much they mean to you?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
So, as you gather around the dinner table today, or every day, take a moment to give thanks for all the people in your life who have shown kindness and unselfishness toward you. Think of some small acts of unselfishness that have turned out to be big in your life and your memories. If you have trouble thinking of any, ask God to show you. Look for opportunities to share these stories with others and to return the favor or even ‘pay it forward’ to unsuspecting people in your life. Thank God for new opportunities to love others and grow in your faith as you live out your life with an attitude of gratitude instead of only being thankful when prompted to do so. May you be blessed as you give thanks in all circumstances you encounter today and always!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Yours in Christ,