Summary: Thankful people are grateful, generous, and remember the gracious hand of God.
“Thankful People Don’t . . .”
Earlier in this century thank-you notes were an art form, consider the following, “In regard to thank-you notes, it is best to recognize a gift with an immediate note of thanks. Unlike arriving at a party, there is no such thing as being fashionably late with thank-you notes. Thank-you notes should be sent quickly and should smell of sincerity”. . . I continue, “Of course there are a few don’ts in regard to thank-you notes, do not use a form written correspondence, one uniformed thank you note for every giver. This has become quiet fashionable in Atlanta and Nashville; but considering that each has prostituted its southern heritage, this is not entirely unexpected. A form thank-you note will not do the trick in Vicksburg, Mobile, or Memphis. Further be mindful not to show partiality in gratitude or enthusiasm when writing your notes. Many of your guest, will be from the same family and it is highly likely, I would imagine probable, that thank-you notes will be shared and compared over the phone or over a cocktail.” There is a certain etiquette, which must be followed in sending thank you notes and further there is a certain etiquette, which must be followed when being grateful to God. There are some don’ts when it comes to giving thanks.
First of all, thankful people don’t complain
We gather in church and offer our best impression of thankfulness, but late we are complaining about what we don’t have. Just as God hears our prayers He also hears our complaints. He knows when we are counting our blessing and when we are envious of our neighbor’s blessings. Every time we complain about our health, our possessions, our families, or our jobs we are complaining about God’s provisions. How would we feel if we gave our children our very best, provided them with everything they needed, worked long hours to assure them of Christmas gifts, a college education, and many things we never had. Then we found out that at school they complain to their friends about what they don’t have and how we don’t take care of them. We’d all feel heartbroken, that our best was not good enough, we would not appreciate the unappreciative children that owe their very life to us. How then do you imagine God feels when he has given his only son for our salvation lavished us with not all we want but everything we need? Heartbroken.
People who are truly thankful don’t complain they find a reason to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” Every reason to complain but still thankful.
One Sunday a Sunday school teacher asked their class what they were thankful for. One little 8 year old boy blurted out, “I’m thankful I wear glasses.” This struck the teacher as odd because most boys didn’t care for wearing glasses so she asked, “Now why is that?” The boy answered, “Because it keeps the older boys from fighting with me and it keeps the girls from kissing me.” What a great attitude to have. To see all things as a benefit instead of a curse. Thankful people do just that. Thankful folks rejoice, they don’t complain. Come ye thankful people, come and rejoice in your father’s bounty.
Further still thankful people don’t hoard
Hoarding is the art of collecting without any interest in sharing. Pride kills thanksgiving, but the humble mind is the soil in which thanksgiving naturally grows. A proud person is seldom a grateful person, for they never think they get as much as they deserve. Show me a generous person and I will show you a grateful person. Have you ever met a thankful person, who was not generous?
Again it is odd, but the more we hold onto things the less thanksgiving we have. The more we give away the more reason we have to give thanks. With apologies to St. James I offer this rendition of verse 18 in his second chapter, “But some will say, “You have generosity but I have thankfulness. Show me any generosity without being thankful? But I will show you my thankfulness by my generosity.”
In the book of John Jesus meets a woman by a well. A story we are familiar with. Notice what she does she goes and tells others about the good work of God. She goes and gathers a crowd. She does not hoard this good news, she shares it. Her heart is so thankful she can’t contain herself.