The Joy of Being Thankful

T


oday ... Joy, my wife, and I were at the doctor's office; the doctor, his assistant and the receptionist were all so thoughtful, helpful, and kind. We were so very thankful and expressed to them our sincere thanks and appreciation.

The gal who served us at the snack bar today was also very helpful. We thanked her both with words and an extra tip. And to every person who helped us today ... and every day ... we want you to know how much we appreciated your friendly and helpful service. It's people like you who help make the world a better place in which to live.

We work from home and Doug, the UPS delivery man, whenever he delivers a package to our door always brings a treat for our little puppy—not only do we thank him for his thoughtfulness, but so does our puppy in her own excited way.

Whenever I talk to the mailman who delivers our mail to our mail box, I always thank him for his service which we truly appreciate. I also thank the garbage man whenever I see him—which I did today. Can you imagine it if we had to take care of our own garbage? What a mess this would leave. Garbage disposal service is a wonderful city service.

Every day there are endless opportunities to thank every person who is helpful to us in any way. I think we all appreciate being appreciated. Even Jesus, when he healed the leper, a Samaritan, who threw himself at Jesus feet in thankfulness, asked, "Were not all ten [lepers] cleansed/healed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"1

Sad to say, it is all too easy for those of us who have been so blessed to take for granted the endless blessings and helps we receive every day. As another has said, "It seems to be human nature to forget to say, 'Thank you.' Samuel Leibowitz, a brilliant criminal lawyer, saved 78 people from the electric chair; not one thanked him. Art King had the radio program, 'Job Center of the Air.' He supposedly found jobs for 2500 people, of whom, only ten ever thanked him. An official of the post office, in charge of the Dead Letter Box in Washington, D.C., reported that one year he had received hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to 'Santa Claus' asking him to bring many things, but after Christmas, only one letter came to the box thanking Santa Claus for bringing the toys asked for."2

When I was brushing my teeth recently, I thought to myself how blessed I am to have a toothbrush and toothpaste so I can clean my teeth every morning and night. I was thinking how awful it would be to live where such simple amenities were not available. However, before writing me off as some kind of pedantic fanatic please consider a recent experience that Joy (my wife) had.

Not so long ago she was on a mission team from our church that went to a poverty stricken area in the Philippines. She shared how incredibly excited and thankful the children were when the team gave each one of them a toothbrush and toothpaste—something they had never had in their life before.

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Let me count the ways.

How do I appreciate thee? Let me count the ways!

Whoever the "thees" are in your life and mine, let us take stock and name the ways we have been blessed through their love, their friendship, their support, their encouragement, their help and so on.

And let us not fail to express gratitude when such is due. As William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." Furthermore, let us be givers, just not takers.

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And for those of us who live in a free country may we always be extremely grateful to and for all who have fought—and the many who gave their life—to give us this freedom. And may we never forget that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance on the part of all who live in countries where we still have freedom.

And may we be be eternally grateful to God and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for giving his life on the cruel Roman cross to pay the penalty for all our sins so that we could receive God's forgiveness and his gift of eternal life. There is no greater gift in all the world.

And for those of us who live in countries where it is safe to share God's message of hope and salvation, may we be eternally grateful for this wonderful privilege—and in thanksgiving to God for all he has done for us, may we (with God's help) do everything we possibly can to share the message of Jesus Christ and God's salvation with people all around the world.

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Dear God ... above all else beside please give to me a thankful heart and may I always have an attitude of gratitude.

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Feeling gratitude and not
expressing it is like wrapping a
present and not giving it.

"Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her—she seemed so happy, and how I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet—the world is mine.

"And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, 'It's nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find'; he turned and said, 'Oh, thank you sir.' And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

"Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, 'Why don't you join the others, dear?' He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

"With feet to take me where I'd go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine."3

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1. Luke 17:16-18 (NIV).
2. Tony Bland. Cited on www.sermons.com.
3. Source Unknown.

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