Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Thank you" is more than a polite expression.



The blessings we recount usually revolve around the people in our lives and the basic necessities such as water, food and shelter.  I don't know about you, but I'm always surprised that in a world of so much "stuff" our true gratefulness seems to be focused on the daily blessings we often take for granted.  We see this concept in news interviews with families who survive natural disasters.  They talk about losing everything material, but being thankful their loved ones are still with them.

I've been wondering if gratefulness changes us.  When people survive a catastrophic event, I think it marks them in some way.  Some people are resilient and recover.  Others may be resentful.  I've never experienced a natural disaster or catastrophic event, but I still long for survivor-like gratefulness to change me from the inside out.

There was a woman in the Bible named Hannah who had gone through years of infertility.  In her culture infertility meant she was the object of ridicule and rejection.  After many years of asking God for a child, she finally gave birth to a boy she named Samuel, meaning, "God has heard."

Hannah's gratefulness was so overwhelming she decided to give him back to God for a life of service.  So after Samuel's young boyhood years, probably at about 12 years of age, she took him to the temple to be cared for and mentored by the priest, Eli, for a life of service to God.  Since the temple was a part of daily Jewish life, no doubt Hannah continued to spend significant time with her son.  And she gave birth to five more children so she had a busy life as a mother.  But Hannah was one grateful woman!  She didn't just say 'thank you." She expressed it through her actions.  Her thanksgiving was lived out very intentionally.

While I'm not advocating parting with your first-born child,  I do know that I want my thankfulness...my appreciation, to be reflected in how I demonstratively love God, my family, friends, and the strangers in need around me.  As we pause to be grateful this month, may the reflections on our blessings be life-changing for all of us.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

So well said! Thank you!