It was hidden way up in the cupboard. I only ran across it as I was looking for something else, but there it was…a simple gift from our oldest son, Joshua. I received it at Christmas because he knew it would be so very precious to me. I had read it, but had forgotten just how precious it was. I read it again and tears started to fill my eyes. I shared it with David, my husband, and he read it, too. He, likewise, was touched by its contents.
So what was it???
It was a handwritten note on two sheets of plain paper expressing our son’s thanks to me for influence in his life. Powerful.
“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Put It Up On The Wall!
“I need help from you all to remember to be thankful,” she said. “So I want you to write out something you are thankful for and post it on the wall.”
Grace had an ingenious way of promoting thinking thanks for her family.
She created a place on her wall where the family could stick post-it notes with things that they were thankful for. As you passed by that wall throughout the day your mind was prompted to think on things that you were thankful for.
Later they would take down the papers and read them at supper time. What a great way to forge a brain neural pathway of thinking thanks! They have graduated to writing them down in a journal now so that they will not loose all the little slips of paper. They want to remember the things for which they were thankful.
This was like writing a long thank you letter to the Lord for who He is and things He had done.
When Paul wrote 13 letters, preserved as “books” in the New Testament, he often began by rehearsing his thanks to God for the recipients of that letter. Actually, Paul mentions the topic of thankfulness at least 46 times in his 13 letters, sometimes exhorting others to give thanks (as in Colossians 3:15-17), and other times expressing his own thankfulness.
Interestingly, the phrase “thank you,” occurring nine times in the ESV Bible, is never directed to another person or group. “Thank you” is always directed to God in the Scripture. But Paul began almost every letter with some version of, “I thank God for you.”
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” Colossians 1:3
See also Romans 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:4)The Apostle Paul
Paul voiced his thankfulness for people. He encouraged them with his words. He thoughtfully included his gratitude under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was going to be conveying great truths in his epistles that would mold the Church for centuries to come, and in some cases rebuking them for their sinfulness and blindness, BUT right there at the beginning of his letters, there is a verse expressing th(i)nkfulness.
I wonder how often you do that? Do you take the time to thank your God for the people He has placed in your life, and then express your thankfulness to those people, highlighting the reasons you are thankful?
I wonder if we fully realize how powerful it is to express our thanks not only to God, but also to others?
So I present you, my reader, with a challenge! To whom could you express thanks today?
Maybe you would write out a thoughtful note like Josh did for me. Maybe you could stick post-it notes on a wall like Grace did. Maybe send a text, or email, or an old-fashioned letter with stamps and everything, stating to someone the reasons you are thankful to God for them. You might even get up the courage to speak, to tell someone the reasons you thank God for them.
Just make sure you do SOMETHING today to express thanks to someone. You will encourage someone else and you yourself will receive a blessing for having done it.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”Proverbs 3:27