Gratitude is so important to a life of faith. We should, of course, be grateful to God, and this kind of gratitude inspires generosity. But we also should be grateful to the people around us!
Taking people for granted. It’s an easy trap to fall into, even if we think we’re genuinely decent people. Gratitude takes effort. It takes remembering. It takes serious, considered, wonder-centred thankfulness.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Someone scared me once by asking, ‘What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?’ For a while this panicked me into praying a ‘thank you’ for everything I could possibly think of, but I was saying thank you for the sake of it, not because I truly meant it.
God tells us to be thankful for everything: ‘…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude isn’t just for when things are easy; sometimes it is hard to be thankful for anything at all, and this is when we need to stop and remember that God is with us in all circumstances. Life, and every good thing in it, is a gift from God – we have a lot to be thankful for.
However, we have to mean it when we thank someone. A casual ‘thanks’ is often a throwaway comment, something we say without thinking. But a genuine thank you has power; it adds value to an action, reflects kindness and even lifts our mood. If you are thanked you feel appreciated, just as if you thank someone else you are reminded of good things in your life. Saying thank you inspires and prompts generosity; the more someone thanks you the more you want to help them out. The more you thank God for the good in your life the more you want to praise him.
Imagine if by simply thanking someone you encouraged them to do something nice for someone else. The ripple effect of two straightforward, yet powerful, words has the potential to go a long way and make a lot of difference.
Today’s blog was written by Emily Owen. Find out more about her here.
Here are some options for how to respond to this Reflection. Green is for the simplest Act, Yellow takes a bit more effort and Red encourages you to branch out more.
Write down a number of people from your past who’ve supported and helped you. Commit to contacting each, to tell them ‘thank you’. P.S. Not all in one day!
Write a letter thanking someone. This might not be the easiest thing for a lot of us. If you’re not prone to cracking out the fountain pen and writing paper, you can write a well-composed Facebook message – and sometimes, a few well-chosen words can mean more than a page of prose.
How about thanking someone who doesn’t usually get thanked in person: your bus driver, the local postman, the colleague who always puts on a fresh pot of coffee or empties the dishwasher. Appreciating these people will add a whole ton of value to their day, and being thankful is a great way to begin your week.