"Don't forget to say 'thank you.'" If you are like me, then you probably heard this phrase often when you were a child. If you are a parent, you probably give this advice to your children regularly. "Don't forget to say 'thank you.'" But if we are honest with ourselves, even adults—and yes, even Christians—need to be reminded of this as well. I want to talk to you about being a "thanksgiver" at Thanksgiving.
Why is it that many of us struggle with remembering to give thanks? Why is it that sometimes we remember, and sometimes we don't? Why is that sometimes giving thanks seems to slip our minds? How come we have to have a national holiday reminding us to stop and give thanks? Perhaps the reason may be because we are too busy, and we forget to hit the pause button and express our thankfulness. We are too often thinking about the next thing. At work, we ask ourselves, "What are the next steps our business is going to take to grow? How many e-mails do I need to respond to? What do we need to get more of? Less of? Rid of? Better at?"
Or, in our home life, we are constantly going from one thing to another. "What errands do I need to run? Who or what needs to be dropped off? Picked up? Sent to somewhere else?" As your kids grow and grow, you have to go and go, and in the midst of going, going, going, we fail to look back, hit the pause button, and give thanks. Most of the time, it's not because we aren't grateful; it's because, oftentimes, giving thanks simply slips our mind.
I'll be honest: I struggle with this. I've forgotten to give thanks to people who have given me gifts. I've repeatedly forgotten to give thanks to people who helped me with a favor. I'm willing to guess you have, too. But can you imagine ...
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Chris Rappazini serves as the Biblical Exposition Program Head at the Moody Bible Institute in Spokane, WA, is an associate teaching pastor at Southside Christian Church, and is on the Board of the Evangelical Homiletics Society.