Who or what do you give thanks for ? Are your thanks received with graciousness ?
The first part of this question probably sounds easy to answer; quite obviously I can only answer for myself, but I give thanks for family and friends. At the moment I’m going through a stressful time but I feel so uplifted by the love and prayers of my Churches. I give thanks for every one of my Church members and the wider Church family. Especially for those friends who know my current situation and have simply gathered around me, friends from Romania, Oldham, previous Circuits, my Rotary club: you all know who you are.
I give thanks for the blessing of a home in which to live, for food, for heating, for security not afforded to everyone in our own country or abroad.
I give thanks for the simple things in life such as a lovely garden to walk in (even at this time of year), for health, for life itself !
Often all those things we take for granted are the very things we need to say thank you for but we don’t always do it. We forget to say thank you and when we do we can so often be disappointed in the response of the person receiving our gratitude. They shrug their shoulders and say “it was nothing” when to us it may have been everything; they say “don’t mention it” and deprive us of the opportunity to show appreciation. This is where graciousness comes in.
Alison and I know a lady who if she gives a gift expects a thank you by return; If a letter hasn’t arrived in the next post she’s on the phone to us complaining. If we say thank you over the phone she fails to accept it implying that the only thanks that counts is a written one (not email or verbal). Her lack of graciousness takes the edge off the gift she’s given, for we find ourselves thanking her and then having to justify why we spoke it out aloud rather than sent a letter. Still we’re all different.
However, there is one who rejoices in our thankfulness whether it is written, repeated or simply spoken and that someone is God. Look at how any times in the Scriptures thanks and praise are given to God. Jeremiah 33:11 “give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever” Matthew 15:36 “then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” Psalm 136 mentions giving thanks over and over again in its 26 verses. So many other references and the wonderful things is that when we say thank you to God he simply receives it without any further expectation; in short his graciousness is such that to receive thanks is all he requires.
We should be thankful to him for our health, food, homes, family, friends etc.
Now I know that this raises a great deal of theological questioning for those who haven’t received such blessings, but that is for another blog another time. Today I just want us to get into the rhythm of saying thank you.
Go on, try it
Perhaps begin by reading Psalm 136 out aloud and let yourself get into the rhythm of it, especially the constant repetition of the line “his love endures for ever”. get excited at saying it aloud.
Perhaps after you’ve done this over a few days, devise your own litany of thanks, with that same repetition in it and learn to say your own thanks aloud.
Its a good habit to get into.