Tuesday, July 11, 2017

on being gracious...






Gratitude. To be gracious. To be thankful for what you have as well as what you may expect to receive. Today, gratitude seems to be in such short supply. It seems to be a given that when one sends out a card, be it birthday, graduation or wedding, with a gift, that receiving a thank you note is so passe....not required at all! What happened? One person I brought this subject up with said,"they just don't do that anymore! I don't expect to be thanked!"
Why?

Recently on social media, I reprinted a "Dear Abby" column about sending out thank you cards for gifts received. It was more of an "FYI" than anything else, just to gauge people's reaction.

Did I say "reaction?" It was more of a non-reactionary post, as only two people commented on it.

Heavy sigh. What has happened to the very act of graciousness?

I am reminded of how often we are told in the Bible to be thankful. Heck, here in America, we even have a HOLIDAY about being thankful, yet for many, it is a reason to have a holiday in which to spend money! Jesus told us many times about praying, knocking at the door, asking and we shall receive, but also admonished us that in receiving, we need also to be THANKFUL! In one story that he told, there were ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, yet only one came back to thank Him. And he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:11-19). I bring that point up, because in Jesus' day, Samaritans and Jews did not get along. At All. Yet many times, Jesus referred to Samaritans in His examples of how we are to deal with people. And he showed us by example...many times.

The Bible is filled with many, many scriptures of thanksgiving! If one goes all the way back to Genesis, even God was grateful for all that He had made. He sat back and said, "it is good!" The Apostle Paul, even while imprisoned, wrote in his many letters of how God was good. Imagine that, being in the worst possible situation, yet Paul found reasons to be grateful! Grateful! Not complaining at all about the lack of accommodations, very little food, water or even sunshine! In all of that, he still was grateful to God! We can take a lesson from that!

When I was growing up, my family had very little. If ever I received a gift of clothing, be it new (which was rare) or a hand me down, my mother made sure that before I even wore it, spent it, ate it or played with it, I sat down and wrote out a thank you note! She would check it for errors in spelling or thought. It couldn't be some simple thing such as: "dear grandma, thank you for the coat, it is very nice! love, Diane." No, it had to be thought out, expressive. After all, she always said, my grandmother (or whomever I received the items from) took the time out to think of me, how hard was it to take my own time to be gracious?

As an adult, I have been stunned by many sunrises and sunsets, by many Springtime flowers and autumn beauty. I have been brought to tears by the sight of a newborn baby as well as by having a friendship of thirty years, a friendship that only death could take away from me. I am in awe every day just by having my wonderful husband at my side, a man who I never thought I'd ever get to have as a best friend and lifelong companion. And at night, in the morning and impulsively throughout the day, I find myself saying, "thank you, Lord! Thank you for my life. It is indeed good!" A life that, by all rights, I never should have had from day one! My mother very nearly miscarried me, an incident when I was only three months old nearly killed me. There have been accidents, illnesses and more that should have taken me out more than once, yet each time, God saw fit to keep me here. And for that, I am so grateful.

I am also grateful to you, the reader of this post, that you keep me inspired just by your own presence. May you take the time to read through the following passages I have written below. To be inspired by what God has given to you, and may you raise your voice in thanksgiving to Him!

Hallelujah!

Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 Philomen 1:4 
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 107:1
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!