Thankfulness is a big deal in the Bible. In fact, it’s one of the specific things that God says is His will for us (1Thessalonians 5:18). I’ve learned in my own life that I tend to be much more grateful when my favorite charity isn’t me. How about you?
Steve Goodier, in his excellent blog, tells the story of William Stidger, the prodigious pastor and professor at Boston University, who reflected one day on the many un-thanked people in his life. One was a school teacher who, early in his life, imparted to him a love for poetry. He was able to locate her and send a letter of thanks. Her response was heartwarming: “My dear Willie, I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning and it cheered me as nothing has in many years.”
Though not prone to crying, Bill Stidger wept over that note from this wonderful un-thanked influencer from his past. If you were to make a list of the un-thanked, who might it include? A childhood Sunday school teacher? The manager at your first job? A neighbor who always smiled? A Christian mentor who loved you unconditionally? The coach who taught you about self-discipline? We all had them; we all know them. When was the last time we thanked them?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her epic novel/poem Aurora Leigh, makes an astute observation: “Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees, takes off his shoes; the rest sit ‘round it, and pluck black-
berries…” Are you a “blackberry-plucker” or a see-er? Who might you see today and say, “Thank you?” Do it.