Yesterday we talked about expressing gratitude. I encouraged you to take some time and write down ten things for which you are grateful. I appreciate all of you who shared your gratitude in the comments section. Some of you may have found this assignment to be easy. Others of you may have found it to be difficult.
If you found the assignment difficult, you might have learned that you need to work at building gratitude into your life. Gratitude is an intentional choice we make. To assist you in growing in gratitude, there is an acronym:
At the top of the list is people. Notice that at the end of the list is ‘things.’ It is easy to flip the list up-side-down and to put ‘things’ at the top of the list. But there are good reasons to put people first.
When I think about being grateful for people, I recognize that God is at the top of the list. There is nothing to be more thankful for than Jesus Christ. In him, we have everything. Without him, we have nothing.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36 (ESV)
All the money in the world will not buy us happiness. All the success in the world will not accomplish salvation. In the end, the only thing that matters is the relationship we have with Jesus. I am thankful that I know him. I am thankful in a world filled with violence and suffering there is nothing I need to fear because I have Jesus in my life.
I recognize that God does not need my thanks. And any thanksgiving I might offer is insufficient compared to what he has done. No words could match. No deed could surpass. But I will bring my gift of worship and offer my praise because I cannot do anything but that.
Beyond the one most important person (Jesus), there are the other people in our lives. We would do well to show our appreciation to the people around us. It is easy to assume others know they are appreciated. It is easy to overlook the opportunities to express appreciation. I am always amazed at how far a simple thank you will go.
We typically think of Christmas as the gift giving holiday. But consider making Thanksgiving be a gift giving holiday. I am not talking about going to the store and buying gifts. It is a gift that will cost you nothing. It is a simply sharing your appreciation for the people in your life. Thank them that they are part of your life. Give them some praise. I know it will encourage them.
Yesterday your assignment was to write down ten things for which you are thankful. Your assignment today is to write five thank you notes. Write an email. Write it by hand. It doesn’t matter how you send it. What matters is that you send it so that the people you appreciate know they are appreciated.
Write a note to an employee. Write a note to your spouse. Write a note to your teacher. Write a note to your pastor. Write a note to your boss.
Do it now! Don’t wait to get around to it later. If you wait, you will forget. Do it now while you are thinking about it. If you are like me, you put off those good intentions until later. But later never comes around. Your good intentions remain exactly that – good intentions. Don’t let your appreciation remain a good intention.
Questions for Reflection
- How do we express our gratitude to God?
- Why do we want to prioritize our gratitude for people over our gratitude for things?
- Send 5 thank you notes filled with praise to people you appreciate.
- Share your comments.