First of all, I want to greet all of you a blessed new year!
I know most of you are making of your own new year’s resolution but my wish for you this year is that you may develop an attitude of thankfulness, where you can’t stop thanking, especially to God. Why is this my wish for you? Because it gives you benefits and health to your soul and changes your perspective in life, moreover facing troubles and experiencing anxieties (which are unavoidable).
You see, the problem is that many people are not just only ungrateful or not thankful to God but also are discontented with what they have right now. As a result, they have this kind of narrow and gloomy perspective of their lives because they just keep on wanting and wanting, but fail in thanking.
But why do we give thanks, particularly, to God? What’s the purpose? In my culture (Filipino), mostly are a thankful people. You see, when someone would say to this person, “Thank you,” the other person would still respond, “Thank you also” (more like saying “You’re welcome.”) When a person is invited to a dinner in someone’s home and then after dinner, the guest would say to the host, “Thank you for the food,” the host immediately would respond, “Thank you also for coming.” And also, Filipinos would say ‘Thank you’ twice to a fellow Filipino especially in parting ways: “Goodbye. Thank you. Salamat.”
So, it’s really easy for us to say, “Thank you” to someone especially to a person that it’s very close to us. But the question here is, “Is it the same way we treat God?” We can often hear, “Thank God! Praise God! Thank You, Lord!” But somehow, these are being used as common expressions or cliches.
When you say ‘thank you’ to God, is it sincere? Is it from the heart? I guess this is the hard part. It’s hard for us to say ‘thank you’ to someone if we don’t know much of the person, right? It takes an amount of effort to come to the person and say ‘thank you.’ Do you agree? I observed my children when they received gifts from these past two weeks (Christmas time) and I could say that they can easily say ‘thank you’ to someone they already knew (maybe, I need to remind them in saying ‘thank you’ to those who gave them gifts). But when they don’t know much of the person or they haven’t been close to this person, when I told them to say ‘thank you’, they have this look of hesitation. I could interpret their eyes something like, “Do we need to do this?” And they gather their courage and say ‘thank you’ to this unacquainted person.
Yes, it’s kinda hard to say ‘thank you’ to God sincerely when we don’t know much about God in a personal level. And not only that. We oftentimes couldn’t recognize that we are being blessed by God with His grace and yet are not thankful to God. And usually, we are not still contented with what He gave to us.
Let’s put this in another view. What if you have shown kindness to someone and didn’t say ‘thank you’ to you, how do you feel? Well, you might say that it will be alright. But you would feel better if this person would come back at you and say ‘thank you’, wouldn’t it?
From what I’ve heard from a pastor when he said that thanksgiving is recounting the past acts of God; counting your blessings one by one, thanking Him for all He gave. I’m sure you’ll be blessed in this simple act of giving thanks to God. If you do this, you might see yourself on a brighter side.
A Personal Project: How often do you come to God in a personal and intimate way and say ‘thank You’ to Him? Give more time this year in giving thanks to God as He bless and love you everyday. Make a list of His blessings daily.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)