Posts Tagged ‘Appreciation’

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THANKFUL FOR THE PORTION

November 27, 2020

"First Thanksgiving at Plymouth," Jeannie Brownscombe, 1914

“We give thanks this day for the abundance that we have been given” is a prayer many will have spoken this Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving, many feelings will be expressed of heartfelt gratitude for friends and family, provision and providence, wellness and well-being.  Yet, there is no distinction between the warm feelings of gratitude when the thankful have abundance filling every corner of the treasure room of their hearts.

All can know appreciation when plates are full and seats are all filled.

Yet, what is the basis for thankfulness when all is not sufficient?  Do we fake it? Do we pretend to be thankful even when we are inwardly dissatisfied?  Do we rationalize the sufficiency of the insufficient based upon a relative scale with others?

I read of Jesus’ thankfulness for five loaves and two fishes.  Was he really thankful for what was clearly insufficient?  Jesus thanked God for a meal to feed one or maybe two, which left 4,998 (plus families).  Jesus was thankful when all the whole was missing.

This year, many will have a portion but the whole will be missing.

At my family’s table, a chair will be empty and the family missing a father.
At my Wife’s table, a chair will be empty and the family missing a mother.
At my Cousin’s table, a chair will be empty and the family missing an uncle.
At Brother’s table, the chair of my Sister-in-Law will be filled but the grief of cancer’s curse colors all with feelings of finality.
Our table will be divided. Family members isolated in smaller groups amongst various homes.  Our tables will not be whole.  They will be portions.

How are we to be thankful in a year such as this?

Jesus was thankful for what was insufficient for the need.  He was not thankful for a couple fish and several loaves.  He was thankful for a God that was sufficient for all needs regardless of the portions.  This year the portions are not sufficient for many.  This year most are not celebrating with the whole.

Gratitude in the whole is not an act of righteousness.  Anyone can be thankful in abundance.  This year we have an opportunity to practice the thankfulness of Jesus.  We can be truly thankful, because God can either make the insufficient sufficient or He can make us content under the wing of our sovereign, all-sufficient, savior.

Thankfulness is an act of Faith.  Our thankfulness should not rest upon the visible but on the invisible and what is to come.  Our thankfulness should reside upon the truth that there will be a day when all are together, and the table is full with our Lord at its head.

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“A NOTE OF APPRECIATION” – Mar. 15

March 15, 2013

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;…” Psalm 92:1

My son recently had the opportunity to attend a 4-H, “Know Your Government” event at our state capital.  It was a multi-day event of meeting state representatives, judges and people of political importance.  They got to role play from the actual seats where real decisions are made.  However, I think the biggest draw was the food and the hotel room.  Our son’s stay was his first without his doting parents.  His parents were assuaged by the fact that the adult chaperones were individuals who we know and trust.  That helped considerably in relinquishing our son for his first independent out-of-town adventure.

He had a wonderful time.  We think that it was a great education experience for him; time will tell on that one.  We know that it was an important step in maturing into a responsible young man.  It was important for me as a parent.  That makes us very grateful to those who were instrumental in allowing our son to experience such an event.  We are particularly grateful to the chaperones.  They took time away from their work and families.  They had to pay for their own hotel rooms.  They had to put-up with the drama and silliness that is teenagers.  This event was a significant intrusion into their lives.  Yet, they volunteered and as a result my son benefited from a great experience.

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto o...

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; added by those for whom prayer or miracles were granted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an expression of our gratitude, my wife encouraged, forcefully motivated, forced our son to write a Thank You note of appreciation and send it to  them.

I was surprised by what we later discovered.  My son’s note was the first note of gratitude that the chaperone had received in four years of volunteering.  He was appreciative of the appreciation.

How bad is that?

universal thank you noteThe definition of grateful is an appreciation of the benefits received. 

When we say thank you, we are communicating that we believe that we have received a benefit and that we value that benefit.  We do not feel appreciation for something that we don’t value.  I would not feel a lot of appreciation if a person were to give me a single penny.  However, I would feel a lot of appreciation if someone were to give me 100,000 pennies.  My appreciation will be more because I value 100,000 pennies more.

In addition, I would not be appreciative in the same way if the 100,000 pennies are given to my friend.  I have not received the benefit of the gift.  The gift is not mine.  We are benefiting from a variety of work that is seen and unseen.  Gratefulness comes only for those aspects where we acknowledge and recognize the benefits.

Consider the message that we communicate when we are not grateful.

We either:

Don’t value what someone has done for us

or

We don’t believe what they have done for us has a benefit.

Discouragement is the enemy of all who give themselves to the service of others.  These folks, typically, don’t put in the time and effort to receive the accolades or praise. However, the question of, “is it worth it?” will inevitably aside.

“Is it worth it?” is asked in a probing search to discover whether people are actually benefiting from all of their efforts.  The reason the question comes up is because they are often working in a vacuum.  The problem is that grateful people are not communicating to them how they have been helped by their service.

“Is it worth it”? is asked when there is a sense that all their efforts are not valued.  Those who serve others have made an exchange.  They have given something of value to them, their time, energy and often money, in an effort to create something of value for another person. It is when that effort is disregarded, tossed aside, taken for granted, or unfairly compared, that the discouragement of “is it worth it?” sneaks in.  The problem is that Grateful people are not communicating to them how much they value what is being given to them.

Are you a grateful person?  You cannot be a grateful person without other people knowing how you feel.  There is no such thing as private gratitude or stealth appreciation.

When was the last time you sent a thank you card?

When was the last time you told your spouse, parent, sibling, friend, Pastor, teacher, mentor, coworker, how much you appreciate them?

When was the last time you sent a small gift acknowledging someone’s special effort?

When was the last time  you told someone how much they have helped you?

These are some of the actions that define whether you are a grateful or ungrateful person.

When was the last time you thanked God?

God sent his only Son to remove our condemnation.  We have benefited from His sacrifice.

God has adopted us as his children; children of God, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.  We have been given a gift of incomparable value.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord…” (Psalm 92:1)  It is good to be grateful to the Lord because that expression is an acknowledgement that we understand that we have benefited from His gift of tremendous value.  The attitude of the one who has experienced the Lord’s amazing grace can be only that of appreciation – gratitude.

May we be known for our gratitude to those who the Lord has placed in our lives to help us and most importantly to the Lord Most High for saving us!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for saving me.  Thank you for placing people in my life to help me.  Thank you for my wife and family.  Thank you for my friends.  Thank you for all that you have given me.  Thank you for the air that I breathe, the rain that falls, the earth beneath my feet, and all of the other miracles of this world that makes my life possible.  Father, I want others to know the amount of gratefulness that is within me for You and them.  Help me to pause on a regular basis and communicate my gratefulness.  Amen

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