Have you seen the new commercials on television, the ones about the power of the words “thank you?”
I’m not really sure what it is they are advertising…but my favorite of the group is the one where a man and woman are sitting in a posh restaurant, dining. She says to him, “Are you ever going to ask me to marry you?”
Well, the man looks absolutely stunned. No, let me take that back. He looks trapped. He finally grins at her and says, “Thank you?”
The lady melts. “Ah, the power of ‘thank you.’”
The Right Time
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~~Ephesians 5:19b-20
We’re about to celebrate a national day of “thanksgiving,” a commemoration of a meal that was shared in the autumn of 1621 between the European settlers who have since been known as Pilgrims and a tribe of Indians, the Wampanoags. We’re about to celebrate a national day of “thanksgiving,” We’re about to celebrate a national day of “thanksgiving,” of turkey and dressing or mashed potatoes as well as a host of vegetables and desserts. School-aged children put on classroom skits or come home wearing Indian or Pilgrim headdress. Football games are played but not before the pomp of Thanksgiving Day parades.
Then, of course, there are the After Thanksgiving Day sales…something I’m particularly thankful for. (And I say that tongue in cheek. I avoid crowds, but I do appreciate good sales.)
We have zeroed in on this one special day to ask, “What are you thankful for?” We answer with all the positives in our lives. I’ve yet to hear anyone respond with, “My car is broken down, I’ve lost my job, my house is about to go into foreclosure, and my dog just died.” Not even once.
However, according to the verse above, we are to give thanks always. Not just when things are going well…but for everything.
The Sacrifice of Thanks
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to say “thank you,” when you have little to be “thankful” for? Yet, the Word of God is filled with “orders from headquarters” about being thankful to the Lord. In fact, one of the first scriptures we typically learn as children is 1 Chronicles 16:34: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
The Lord God even gave us a breakdown of the “Thanksgiving Offering,” and in Leviticus 22:29 the word “sacrifice” is used in conjunction with it.
When you sacrifice a thank offering to the LORD, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf.
Sometimes saying “thank you” feels like a sacrifice. But, you see, God knows the big picture. Thank Him for that. Thank Him because He knows exactly what He is doing.
A Personal Story
Recently, due to the after effects of Hurricane Charley, my daughter’s car got water in the engine and had to be towed. Because this was “storm related,” we had to wait on insurance adjusters and the whole nine yards. It was a four-week ordeal. Four weeks of my daughter basically being trapped in her apartment and unable to find transportation in order to get to work. Eventually, she lost her job. She was losing money. She was in danger of losing her lease.
Through it all, she kept saying, “I don’t know what God is doing, but I’m glad He does.”
Finally, her car was returned with a new engine. Because finding a job in her line of work would take time, she opted for hitting some fast-cash temp services until she could settle into life again. At one temp office she placed her resume, then left. Within a short period of time, her cell phone rang…it was the gentleman from the office who said he’d noticed her when she’d come in. No, he didn’t have work for her…but he thought she was pretty (she is) and she seemed nice and he was new in town.
Well, yeah. You guessed it. They’re now dating and my daughter is quite smitten (though don’t tell her I said that!). One day she said, “You know, if my car hadn’t broken down and I hadn’t lost my job…I wouldn’t have met him!”
Aren’t you glad God knows what He’s doing?
A Prayer of Thanks
Some time ago I was struggling with my prayers. There was a lot going on in my life and so much of it was negative. Then, I remembered the verses about thanking God for everything…always…and the sacrifice of a thanks offering.
So, I began to pray in “thank you’s,” rather than, “can I have’s.”
As I thanked God for what I had not yet seen (I believe the writer of Hebrews calls that faith), I began to soar spiritually! I felt so wonderfully close to God! I could literally feel His presence with me as I spoke to Him. My prayers became “empowered!” My heart would flutter with anticipation at the number of things I could find to thank my Heavenly Father for…both the good and the bad…the positive and the negative.
Soon, the negatives didn’t seem to negative. Life began to change, or perhaps just my outlook on it. Or, perhaps a little of both.
Should You Try This At Home
So, why don’t you try it? It’s really very simple, you know. Simply open your heart and mouth and say, “Thank you, God. Thank you for…”
Begin with the things you can see, the positives. Then move to the things you see, the negatives. Thank Him for things yet unseen (My married daughter and her husband want to begin their family, so I’m already thanking God for the little addition we’ll have in our family). Thank Him for the little things you take for granted…like the sun on your face or the rain which waters the parched earth. Thank Him for that parking space so close to the mall door…for the turkey and dressing…for the joy of football games and parades…and for the great privilege of living in this country.
Just say, “Thank you.” You’ll be amazed at what transpires between you and the Giver of All Good Things.