Still Giving Thanks

5 06 2013

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

She brushed back a tendril of hair from her face. She had been working…hard. This sweet lady cleans our church building, a job done quietly and largely unnoticed. The discussion of the moment was about how to get chewing gum (or I should say chewed gum) out of carpeting. Listening to the discussion swirling around her, she admitted that practice and necessity had guided her into finally finding a solution to the sticky mess.

We all nodded as we paused to think about how much gum she coaxes out of the carpeting each week. But it was her next sentence that truly humbled me. “Gum doesn’t bother me,” she said. “It means there are children in the pews learning about Jesus.”

There, in a nutshell (or should I say a gum wrapper?), is the essence of essential number three. When we choose to give thanks, we make the decision to notice, to pay attention, and to respond to the presence of God in our days. In every circumstance, we have the choice to either count our blessings or catalog our burdens. We can either see every moment as an opportunity to interact with God or keep an updated record of all that has gone wrong in our day. The path we choose has the power to shape our hearts in eternal ways.

My Jesus Resolution today is to carry a gum wrapper in my pocket. I am going to let it remind me that God is at work all around me. Giving thanks is an invitation to open my eyes and enjoy His presence. It is easy to let frustration, annoyances, griping, and worry set the agenda and focus of my heart. Instead of grumbling, I am going to rehearse the goodness of God. I want to count His fingerprints on my day, and let gratitude open my eyes to what is truly important.

Give Thanks

3 06 2013

She is almost a year old and as sweet as an angel. She has cherub cheeks and a halo of red hair. Sitting in her high chair, it was evident that she was hungry. Mom hurried to get out her meal and let her start eating. Breaking her lunch into bite-sized pieces, it didn’t take long for the crying to turn into contentment.

Settling into eating my own lunch, it only took a minute for the moment to be transformed and filled with smiles and a touch of wonder. Every bite that she picked up and put in her mouth was followed by a loud and definite “Yuuuummmmm!” She would then stop and clap her hands, delighting in the taste of her meal. The next bite, the same thing. A giant “Yuuuuummmm!” followed by applause. She did this with every bite of her lunch.

A little voice and little hands helped me see God.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

This is essential number three – give thanks. I loved watching how this little one taught me how to do this with joy. She didn’t take her lunch for granted. She savored each bite, and stopped to share her appreciation – not once, but over and over again. She invited others to join her in smiling, enjoying, relishing, and appreciating a simple pleasure. My lunch tasted better because she reminded me to value each bite. She helped me remember the power of pausing and letting gratitude soak into the cracks of every part of my day.

My Jesus Resolution is to give thanks. It is easy for me to be rushed and distracted, missing the opportunities that I have to give thanks. God plants a thousand “Yums” and Yays” in my day. Simple blessings meant to give me a pathway into His presence. Little beauties meant to draw my eyes to His face. Tender care meant to enfold me in His love. Today I want to be deliberate about stopping and thanking Him for each one. I am a little humbled to imagine how that will change the pace and focus of my day, but I want to be like the little one in the high chair. I don’t want to miss one chance to let thanksgiving define how I experience His delights.