Our verse for today comes from 1 Thessalonians 3:9, ” How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? “
Some time ago I went on a mission trip to East Asia. To get there, I needed to raise some money to help pay for the trip. And in response to a request I mailed out, many people contributed very generously, enough so that all of my expenses were covered before I got on the first plane. I also solicited the prayers of a group of people to lift up me, my family, and our mission team for the ten days of our trip. These individuals, too, gladly responded to my challenge and prayed diligently on our behalf. One month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. And in response, countless people sent cards, prepared meals, prayed and offered to help in whatever way they could, all out of love and concern for me and my family. God came down and ministered directly through the hands and hearts of brothers and sisters that I didn’t have just a few years ago. And in response to these outpourings of grace and mercy, to show my gratitude and appreciation for the devotion and care that I have received, I have written exactly zero thank you cards. Inexcusably, I have delayed and put off returning thanks in writing for what I asked for from others and what I didn’t know I needed from so many. To those of you that I have neglected, I sincerely say I am sorry and ask for your forgiveness. I wish that I could say like Paul did in his next verse to the Thessalonians, that I prayed night and day for you in an attempt to thank God for the joy you brought me. But that is also not the case.
But in my shame there is a glimmer of hope, and a reminder that there is more to being grateful than just sending a card to someone. Praying for them and about them to the God who made them and brought them into your lives can accomplish many things that a card is unable to do. The loved ones in our lives, those who are kin by birth or rebirth, are blessings and gifts, and we should offer thanks to them and for them. I have a long way to go. I pray your journey is shorter than mine. But let’s all pray and give thanks to our Father who keeps on giving, both night and day.
As we seek Him today, forgive those who don’t offer you the thanks you deserve. And thank those around you who might not normally fall within your circle of gratitude.