REFLECTION: Thank you????!!!!????

Web definition defines GRATITIDE as “a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation”.  Have you pondered as to why we should express our thankfulness and appreciation?  I have… especially this morning.

Often times I am able to give and not expect anything in return.  However, when I am not feeling well and I find a kitchen in chaos because one or two assumed they could help themselves to their meal without cleaning after themselves, the frustration begins.  Have you noticed that when this happens, the lack of gratitude of many others in the community also come to the surface?

Through the years as I participated in street ministry, I do not believe I have encountered one who had forgotten to say “thank you” and/or “God bless you.”  The eve of my first walk with our Street Mom, Ellen Shonsta, will always remain with me.  It was Valentine’s Day and we were distributing socks and handmade cards and candies tucked into ziploc bags.  I had just given one ziploc bag to a teenager and he mentioned that he couldn’t eat candies, but asked if he could take the beautiful card that was within.  He then returned the bag and requested that I give it to another who could appreciate the candies.  (Can you imagine this?  And this was his own words!!!)  Another, who had received a pair of woolen socks, returned it and asked if he could have a cotton pair instead.  He extensively apologized for being picky and explained that he was allergic to wool.  By the end of the evening, I was no longer walking on planet earth, but I was literally floating.  I was SO elated and moved by the gratitude that was given.

In all honesty, I had never encountered such well mannered kids and I was surprised to have found them on the streets!  I had become so accustomed to the kids in our community who had everything they needed and wanted.  These were the ones who failed to express or realize the need for gratitude.

Scarecity = Gratitude ?
Abundance = indifference / lack of gratitude ?

Is there a true correlation there?  Jesus says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them“. Matt 5:3  By this, I don’t believe Jesus implies that everyone has to be financially poor, but instead, I believe He encourages us to take on the positive qualities of the “poor”… to be humble and meek and to turn to Him for our every need.  I believe this is what many living in the poverty line have done… and haven’t you noticed that many in the third world countries are happier than those living in abundance?

What does excessive abundance do to us?  I believe it increases the temptation to indulge in greed and self-centeredness.  I also believe it brings us to the mentality that the world “owes” us or we “deserve” everything we have and so our need to express our gratitude to the One who has blessed us abundantly is forgotten.

Have you noticed that many of those who face terminal illnesses have a radical change in their lives and they begin to treasure their lives more than ever?  Ask depression survivors who have been plagued with darkness and extreme mental oppression and who had been repeatedly tempted by suicide how they view life now.  Ask others who have been given a second chance in life how they live their lives.  I believe the response will be unanimous and the majority will say that they now live their life to the full.  Why?  Perhaps it is because they have tasted loss and have peacefully embraced that reality in their lives and they know that they themselves and/or any other human, other than God, cannot bring internal peace and healing.  Through losses, many have learned gratitude.

As many wake each morning, many fail to realize and recognize that our eyes open automatically, our hearts pump instanteneously, we breathe freely, our organs function healthily and independently…  Are these automatic body functions our rights and do we deserve to have them?

I wonder how many of us then take some time to thank God for these gifts of abundance.  My prayer is that many will not wait for a season of deprivation, but instead, choose to thank God now for the abundance He has given.

Is it your time to say “thank YOU”?

God bless,

Melissa

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