Have you ever thought about how most of us offer our thanks when something good is done to, or for, us? Most Americans say a quick ‘thank you’ and then we instantly go on to other things. Rarely do we ever spend any real or quality time thanking someone for what they have done.
When the Masai tribe in Africa want to say ’Thank You’, they bow down on their knees and put their forehead to the ground and say, ‘My head is in the dirt.’ Why do they do that? It is an act of humility. And there is no way to properly thank anyone for anything unless your heart is humbled in the act of giving thanks.
Which brings me to the thought of how Christians offer up thanks to God for all He has done for us. Again, most of us don’t even offer thanks to God for what He has done, instead choosing to just keep focused on what we want or what we need.
Most Christians, who do offer thanks, do so quickly before immediately putting it out of their mind as they focus on something else. And that leads me to this question: Is it possible to give true thanks when there is next to nothing to give thanks for? To answer that, let’s go all the way back to when the Pilgrims first came to America.
The Pilgrims didn’t have too much of anything, did they? They had no transportation; no indoor plumbing; and they didn’t even have nice homes. Yet they saw reasons to give thanks to God for the many blessings they did have.
What were some of the blessings He gave to the Pilgrims? Well, for starters, God let them get to America safely and He gave them the wisdom to know what they had to do when they got here and the courage do it. In other words, they knew what they didn’t have, but they also knew what they had, and they gave God thanks for it.
A woman went to an art gallery to find a couple of pictures for her newly decorated home, and she took her 10-year old daughter with her. While the mother was busy looking, the daughter went off by herself to look at a few of the paintings.
A few moments later, the mother saw the daughter staring at a painting of an old man sitting at a small table; hands clasped in prayer with a single loaf of bread in front of him. It was obvious the girl didn’t understand what the painting meant.
She asked the mother why he was praying, since the only thing he had was one loaf of bread with nothing to go with it. The mother explained that he was giving thanks because he had the bread, which is more than some people have.
And that shows what we all tend to do. In the middle of abundance, we concentrate on the lack. Maybe that seems to be an unfair statement, but I believe too many of us spend too much time thinking we could be happier ‘IF’: If we had some of this, or if we had more of that.
When we see somebody who has received abundant blessings, don’t we sometimes have a tendency to be a little jealous? We know we are just as good a person as they are, and sometimes we might even be better. So why did they receive that blessing and we never? That is how children react, and maybe that is why we are called God’s children, I don’t know.