A Planned Act of Thanks

While making a transaction with a teller at a bank, I noticed the woman next to me dropped her cane. She didn’t seem to notice, so I picked it up and mentioned that it had fallen to the floor. She thanked me and we both continued with our business. As she turned to leave, she handed me a little note and thanked me again.

As I drove away, I thought about how she had prepared to show her appreciation to people who helped her. She took it a step further than anyone I’ve come across. I always say the words when someone helps me or does anything worthy of thanks, but I’ve never thought about having notes ready.

We all know gratitude is important – being thankful can benefit us in many ways and is also part of a healthy spiritual life. But showing gratitude to others, as this woman did, can brighten not only the receiver’s day, but ours as well. It’s a way of paying gratitude forward, especially if we include a blessing. I haven’t started carrying notes, but I plan to keep them handy and turn saying thank you into a little more than words.

God’s grace increases gratitude

“And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory” (2 Corinthians 4:15, NLT).

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA, a day we have set aside for almost 150 years for giving thanks to God for all his blessings. We have many things to be thankful for, no matter our situation in life. But the biggest blessing for all of humanity is God’s grace which gives us freedom from sin, death, guilt and fear. Grace also frees us to live in fellowship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit and to experience his kingdom now.

Just as God loves us and lavishes his grace on us, he wants us to treat our fellow human beings in the same way. Living in a grace-filled manner and showing it to others is the best and most concrete way to show our gratitude for his grace toward us. May this day and every day be filled with gratitude to God and grace toward others. Happy Thanksgiving!

God’s peace

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

How do you stop worrying, especially if you’re a worrywart? According to Paul, it’s as simple as praying about everything and thanking God for everything too. Gratitude is the opposite of feeling  entitled to rights or benefits a person may or may not have worked for.

It can be difficult to always be thankful, but it can be learned as a spiritual discipline. You might have to start small, by thanking God for the little things, like a flower or someone’s laugh. As you do, your gratitude muscle will grow and get stronger. Sharing problems with God and being thankful, not just sometimes, but all the time, brings God’s peace.