I remember when I was young my mother would make sure I wrote thank-you notes to anyone and everyone I could. I would write a thank-you note for a gift at Christmas. I would write a thank-you note for the gift of time to a teacher or guidance counselor. I didn’t mind writing them. It just seemed to me that she put so much pressure on me and made it seem they were the most important acts in the world.
When I was then older, I realized that not everyone wrote thank-you notes. In fact, many people don’t even offer a word of gratitude to your face while you are in the act of helping them! My assumption when I was a child that everyone understood the importance of gratitude was just that: an assumption, and an incorrect one.
We can often assume that in today’s world this lack of thankfulness is even more profound than in the past. But Jesus healed ten lepers and only one felt the need to return and offer thanks, and he was a Samaritan, a foreigner and societal outsider to the Jewish Jesus. But this one man, due to his movement of thanksgiving and faith, received something much more than a cure for an illness of the body. He received the salvation of his soul.
As good everyday stewards, we are called to be grateful in all things. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians, “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (5:18). It is not so much that gratitude changes anything, but it is who we are as Christians. It is God’s will for us to truly become living examples of the transforming power of thanksgiving, whether we have our mother telling us to give thanks or not.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
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