Have you ever meant to get back to someone and either just forgot or kept putting it behind other urgent tasks? I have – and more frequently than I’d like to admit. It’s not that I don’t want to, but something comes up to distract me and before you know it time has flown by. Have you ever been on the other side of that? Maybe you’ve waited and wondered if the gift was even received. It can make for an awkward moment when you see that person again.
God pours gifts on us all day long. He sends big ones – life, breath, family, vocation, grace and peace. He also sends small ones (is any gift from Him a small matter?), like unexpected encouragement or a restful night. If I wait until a designated prayer time to thank Him, they seem to get all lumped together and some may even be forgotten.
Jewish custom and expectation is thanks should be given at the time and place of the gift. Think of the rabbi who arises in the morning and when he opens his eyes gives thanks for breath and for sight. When he puts his foot on the cold floor gives thanks for feeling and mobility, and so on. He walks to the village and takes a drink from the fountain, “Thank you Lord for the water” and eats his meal, “Bless you Lord, king of the universe for giving us bread from the ground.”
Jesus was on the receiving end of this … sort of. He had just healed ten lepers and sent them to the priest to be declared clean. One returned to thank Jesus.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Luke 17:18
How many times have I been one of the nine! I failed to give credit to the Giver or give thanks for the gift. I want to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving in the moment. Spirit, I pray, grow in me a heart of gratitude. I want to verbalize it so as to reinforce it in my own life and to encourage others by giving God the credit owed Him. I confess I can do nothing without You. Teach me each moment, each hour, each day to bless Your name for all You rain down on me.