Thank You

“Did you remember to say thank you?” How many times did I hear that growing up? How many times did my kids hear that from me? Just two words. As a parent, there were times when just those two words were enough. No more than two because, kids being kids, they can be brutally honest.

Take the thank you note a school teacher received from her “unnamed student” as an example of honesty: “Goodbye Miss James. Thank you for always helping me. I am sad I am leaving. I will miss you. You are kind. My dad likes you and he doesn’t even like mum, so you must be nice ...”

Another youngster wanted to express thanks to her mom. She wrote: “Dear Mom, Thank you sooo much for being my mom. If I had a different mom I would punch her in the face and go find you. Love, Brooke.”

Obviously Brooke loved her mom a lot. I say, “God bless all the thankful Brookes in the world who love their mom’s that much!”

Luke tells a story in his gospel about an encounter Jesus had with ten lepers. Being a leper was difficult. Socially, they were not allowed to be close to the general population because the disease was so contagious. In fact, when it was necessary to be in public situations they were required to call out in a loud voice that they were unclean, warning people to stay away.

This is why, when they saw Jesus, they dared not come near but called out to him from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus did have mercy on them. He asked them to go and show themselves to the priests (who, according to the law, gave the final word as to whether they were free of the disease or not).

When the ten lepers left to go see the priests they still had leprosy but as they went they were healed! Of course, this was a great miracle. However, as in so many of the stories of Jesus, the point of the story wasn’t really about the miracle.

One of the ten, upon seeing that he was healed, returned to Jesus and fell at his feet to give thanks. What’s more, the one who returned was of a race that the Jews were prejudiced against, a Samaritan. A good Jew would have nothing to do with a Samaritan.

His parents didn’t have to ask him to respond with thanks! He did it out of a heart that was genuinely thankful. Jesus praises “the foreigner” for coming back to give thanks (Luke 17).

Paul said, “Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). It’s not always easy to give thanks but there’s something powerful about those who do when life isn’t fair. Helen Keller (born deaf and blind) is an example of this truth. She said, “I thank God for my handicaps; for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”

Do we really need a holiday or a turkey to remember to be grateful for what we have? I sure hope not! It’s good to practice thankfulness every day. By the way, thank you for reading my articles. You have blessed me.