Two of the most powerful words in the whole of the English language are “thank you”. They are also two of the easiest words to both say and mean.
Saying thank you, being thankful, offering thanks, having an attitude of gratitude, however you think about it, it is something we can and should do regularly and unhesitatingly. How hard is it to say “thank you” to somebody? How difficult is it to be thankful, not just for big things, but for the small and seemingly minor things, as well? How much effort does it take to offer a word of thanks? The answer is, it’s not difficult. It takes very little effort. And yet the effects can be profound.
Offering thanks let someone know that their effort, their work, their time, their energy, their gift, their thought, their friendship, their love, is appreciated and noticed. It lets someone know that they made a difference, that they did or said something that was meaningful, useful, beneficial, or special to you, that you noticed them, that they have value and worth, that they matter.
Being thankful is a sign of respect. Offering thanks is an act of caring. Giving thanks is a way of acknowledging the value of what others have done. “Thank you” is so easy to say, and yet, all too often, we find it so easy to forget to say it. So often we take the work, the time, the effort, the giving, the friendship, the love of others for granted. We fail to express the importance of what someone else has done, what someone else has given, what someone else feels, for us.
This lack of thankfulness affects both our relationships with other people, and our relationship with God. We take so much for granted. We fail to appreciate the time and effort of others. We just rush on, we just hurry by, we just move on to the next thing. We get what we want, so we move on. We’re so focused on ourselves that we ignore the person in front of us. Whether that someone is our spouse or partner, our child or grandchild, our friend or coworker, our teacher or student, or the person at the cash register or behind the store counter, the person who fixed our car or our sink or our roof, the person who stepped aside so we could go first, the person who helped us reach something we couldn’t reach, the person who said “hi” to us as we walked or jogged – the list goes on and on of all the people we encounter every day for whom a word of thanks would be such a kind and welcome thing.
And as much as we struggle to say thank you to the people in our daily lives, how much more do we struggle to say “thank you” to God. If we take the gifts and efforts and love of others for granted, how much more do we take the gifts and efforts and love of God for granted? We so often fail to recognize that every good thing we have has its origins in God. God is the first provider of all that is good. God’s love is the love that makes all other love possible. God gives us so much, blesses us in so many ways. God is our constant, unfailing companion in the walk of life. God is the source of grace and mercy and love. God is the one who forgives and makes new. God is the one who conquers death and leads us to eternal life. How much do we have to be thankful for with God?
So, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this month, let us make a pledge to be truly thankful, not just on one Thursday in November, but on every day of the year, in every way possible. Let us dedicate ourselves to leading thank-filled lives. Let us be a people who say, as a matter of loving routine, “thank you”. See you in church!