It has been nearly 2 months since many stopped to give thanks for things during Thanksgiving. Have we stopped to give thanks since? The question I ask is, ‘have I stopped appreciating what I have and thanking those who have given it to me?’ During an average day, how often to you simply tell someone else, ‘thank you’? If you ever stand in line at the store, you see a variety of reactions from gratitude, to impatience, to entitlement. Just ask someone who has ever worked in retail about some of their worst customers. That’s not a good way to be remembered. Who do you thank each day as you go through life? Your employer, your children, your spouse? Do you do this with your voice, by written word, or with other actions like a thank you gift? Maybe you do it so often that you really don’t mean it sometimes. Is it ok to say thanks to someone, even when they don’t deserve it? Do you like to be appreciated by others in your life?
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
More often than not, we give thought to what we want or do not have than what we already have in front of us. How much of your day and thought life is filled with, ‘what do I have to do or get done next’? Its not bad in that it propels us forward to get things done, but seldom allows us to stop and appreciate what we have or what is going well. Instead, we may blow a gasket when something happens to derail our plans and things don’t go as we think they should. Whether that is a family member, co-worker, or stranger that fails us and causes us to change our plans, it may also cause us to lose sight of the things that are really important in our lives. How often do you give thanks for the people who are important to you in your life?
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1
How often do you give thanks to God? I questioned how many times I audibly say, ‘Thank You, Jesus!’ and if I would do it more often, would that help me appreciate him more? We regularly stop to give thanks for food and other things relevant to our day when we sit down to eat as a family. It’s a good chance for me to stop and look at what is going on today and find things to appreciate, even if the day hasn’t gone particularly well or as planned, which to some degree is most every day. Aside from grace before meals and worship in church, how often do we stop to say thank you? Maybe in prayer time, starting by being grateful for the relationship we have with God, and for His gift of salvation can put us in a state of humility and willingness to hear from Him. The more we look, maybe the more we can find things to be thankful for and time to do it.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
An even bigger question beyond ‘are you thankful’, is what do you do in response? Does being thankful cause you to do something? Maybe there have been people in your life that you really appreciate now, but never got to tell thank you. Maybe it was a teacher, coach, mentor when you were younger, who helped you in ways that you never appreciated at the time. Is it ok to tell them thanks now, after many years have passed? Many of us focus on the negative aspects of our parents and never really appreciate what they have done for us. Maybe it compels you to do better and go the extra mile for others in your life. Often, when I realize the enormity of how much God has forgiven me, and how he generously loves me and others in this world who don’t deserve it, it causes me to feel and act in a similar manner toward others. To have compassion, patience, love, and even kind words for those who don’t deserve it that I may encounter each day. What will you do today to demonstrate to someone the love and gratitude in your life?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Yours in Christ,