Gratitude is an action verb

I am a blessed person. I have much that God has given to me – family, home, work, stuff, etc. And like many people I try to appreciate what I have and to be thankful for it. But I am beginning to realize that gratitude is not a mindset or a quick prayer of thanks to God. True gratitude is an action.

As we look toward Thanksgiving next week it’s a good time to realize that the best way to give thanks is not to embrace what we have been given, but to let it go. True gratitude should result in seeing that the blessings we have been given are meant to be given away.

I think of the story I read recently where a woman befriended a young man on the streets. His father had left when he was very young. His mother was addicted to drugs and she struggled to care for her child. The woman who befriended him had a good family and a nice job – which came as result of her education. She began to meet this young man regularly and buy him a meal. She mentored him and encouraged him to learn and grow. She took him to her family Thanksgiving celebration – the first time he had ever eaten dinner at common table with any family, even his own. She was blessed, and the way she gave thanks was by giving to him in return.

She lost touch with that young man eventually. She wasn’t certain what happened and hoped he was okay. Turns out he had left the state to take on a new job. Eventually he made contact with his old friend. He now had a family of his own and was busy taking care of them. He invited her to join THEM for dinner, which she would now do often (blessings given away have a way of coming back).

What do you think pleases God more, a prayer of thanks for a table full of food and a family to share it? Or, an invitation to someone to sit at that table – an invitation that is for them an answered prayer and leads them into a new life?

It’s not bad to appreciate what we have. But this Thanksgiving maybe we can begin to think of ways to share our blessings more than embrace them.

Holy high-five to you,
Mike

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