Thursday, July 19, 2012

Expressing Gratefulness

Beth Spilger is a pastor's wife in St Louis, MO. She and Ken have been married for 37 years and at Grace Baptist Church for 35 years this December. They have 7 children, two sons-in-love, and 7 wonderful grandchildren. Beth has home schooled her children since 1984. Their last child will be graduating from High School in two years. 

Expressing gratefulness to others for their benefits to my life is NOT one of my strong points. It is something I have to work at and cognitively practice.

Challenged by a speaker to list those who had made significant contributions to my life gave me reason to make a list and write simple thank yous. I began the process and have purposed to continue adding more as they come to mind.

Surprisingly, out of the many notes I've written only two who received a thank you have acknowledged those notes.

One was from a very godly lady who had rebuked me soundly after a comment I made to the girls in my dorm at camp. She and I shared a cabin and hearing my comment she drew me aside and kindly rebuked me for the very foolish thing I had said. She was right! I was foolish. I listened to her rebuke and I took it to heart. I've lived by that admonition ever since and God has blessed. She wrote that she didn't even remember having said anything to me but was glad that she had made a difference.

The most significant and life changing to me was the acknowledgement from my uncle.

This uncle also happened to be my 8th grade math teacher. Imagine calling an uncle by Mr. rather than Uncle! He had my best interest at heart, so when I missed a test question or didn't quite do as well as he knew I could on homework assignments, I not only heard about it on my paper through the score and notes written on the sheets, but I also heard about it at the next family gathering! Embarrassing? Yes! Challenging? Even more! He cared.

A few years ago our family drove three days to northern Washington state to help my uncle and aunt celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. 

The surprise came when he took me aside and thanked me for that thank you note. He also shared that out of ALL the hundreds of students he had taught and coached in junior and senior high school I was the ONLY one who had ever thanked him!

My aunt also took me aside and told me how much it meant to him. She said he cried when he read it. He cried! Imagine a tough athletic man crying because of a thank you!

That made me stop and many others are out there wondering if they have helped anyone in any way. Wondering if their lives and the sacrifices they have made meant anything to someone else.

I was reading in Psalms 107 this morning and verse 22 stood out to me.

"And let them sacrifice the sacrifices to thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing."

Our thanksgiving is a "sacrifice." [This is a wonderful Bible study relating back to Leviticus 7 and 1 Peter 2.]

The person I need to be thanking most is my Lord. Have the "wondrous things" [meaning those things that go beyond human power and expectations] brought a "sacrifice of thanksgiving" from my lips to my Lord today? HE should be the first that I thank everyday.

What about others who have benefited me in numerous ways, like my family. They "do" all day and what they do or say is a great benefit to me and to others in our family.

What about folks in my church family? My pastor? My Sunday School teacher? The missionaries we support? A neighbor who keeps their yard beautiful to behold? Think about it, this list could go on... who are you thanking this Thursday?

~Just some Thursday Thoughts...


Joyful said...

This is beautiful! I don't know if I've done a good enough job of expressing thankfulness to those that have made a difference in my life.

I know I try to express it in different ways to people. A few years ago I wrote to my childhood sunday school teacher and poured out in my letter how much of a difference she had made in my life. I don't remember her acknowledging it in the letter she wrote back though that could just be my memory. In the last year I've made it a goal to be more proactive about keeping in touch with older loved ones and letting them know they mean something to me. I'm so glad I did that. I was able to travel far on two occasions to be with an uncle. He passed this last week and I hope to see him in Heaven some day. I am glad I showed him my love and concern while he was still lucid and able to appreciate my visits.

I'm learning to show my appreciation more and more. Thank you for this lovely reminder.

Jolene said...

Beautiful post and wonderful reminder! Thank you, Mrs. Spilger!!!