thank you

The 45 Second Thanksgiving Rule

“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Forty five seconds – that is how long most award shows, including the Oscars, give recipients to say “Thanks!” Conveying thanks to the people in our lives who have blessed us and contributed to our success is of paramount importance. We dare not leave anyone out, especially mom, dad, our spouse and God.

I think the 45 second rule is a good one to incorporate in our everyday lives. Giving immediate and heartfelt thanks to those who bless us with some kindness, however great or small, has a multiplied benefit. It is not only an expression of common decency to our fellow human beings, but it is also an acknowledgement of the presence in each of us of the divine. As those who believe in God, we know that “every good and perfect gift is from above” originating from our Heavenly Father (James 1:17 NIV). When others are kind to us, it is a tangible indication of God Himself showering us with His goodness. What better use of the next forty-five seconds is there than to say “thanks,” to both our human and divine benefactors?

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A Thanksgiving Meditation

There are dimensions of thanksgiving however, that transcend the plain of human reciprocity and move into the realm of the divine. How do we thank someone for something for which it would be impossible to repay? Perhaps it is a parent or other significant person who have invested their lives in benefiting ours. How do we thank someone for the provision of a critically dependent need which we ourselves could never meet? Maybe it is an opportunity, finances, wise advice or simply the emotional support that lifts you from defeat to victory.

Thanksgiving in such circumstances expresses itself best through a humble and grateful acceptance. In many cases it is appropriate to declare our heartfelt thanksgiving through a public affirmation of honor or esteem for our benefactor.

This realm of thanksgiving is of course most fitting in giving praise to God for all He has provided for us. We can never repay Him for the extravagant grace showered upon us as His undeserving and dependent children. But yet He delights to hear the expressions of our thanksgiving and praise for every thing He has done for us. And so with the psalmist it is worth making a commitment to constantly “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4 NIV)

But there is yet one other dimension of thanksgiving that transcends them all. It might be called the highest form of praise. And that is thanking someone, especially God, for something you trust them yet to do. Saying “thank you” in advance is an expression of faith. That “thank you,” no matter what the circumstances, releases faith. “Thank you” becomes “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) It communicates appreciation more for the person and their trustworthiness, than for the thing given. The Giver becomes the treasure more than the gift. That is the ultimate “thank you” any of us can give.

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