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Saying thanks

November 23, 2011
By Roger Lemke - Fishers of Men Lutheran Church , Pine Island Eagle

As a boy, I entered an essay contest and won $10 from a local bank. At their suggestion, in reality at my parents' insistence, I wrote a thank you note. Upon seeing me with my parents, the bank cashier thanked me for saying thanks, and added: "We have been providing these awards for a number of years and this is the first time anyone ever thanked us for it."

Since a verbal or written "thank you" is often in short supply it appears as if we need our Thanksgiving Day to prompt us to give thanks. The book "Parenting For Dummies" says: "Parents should set a good example for their kids by always saying 'please' and 'thank you.'" You must say please even when asking your kid to get his bicycle off your foot or "Thank you" even when receiving a dead slug."

Like a good parent, God through the Bible gives us innumerable reminders to express our thanks. "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto His name" (Ps. 92:1). Or, "With thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). It is in giving thanks that we are filled with God's peace.

Expressing thanks rewards both the giver and the recipient. Expressing thanks leavens life to the point where goodness regains its lost savor. In October, as I looked at Wisconsin's colors of autumn - the scarlet in Sumac and maple, spun gold in the birches, the splendor of smoldering fire in the oaks, I was filled with thanksgiving for a world of surpassing beauty and I was filled with joy and peace at the opportunity to give thanks for our Creator's paintbrush.

Thanksgiving is the holiday to follow the song's advice: "Count your many blessings name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." On Thanksgiving, try to give thanks for things that are not things. Over and over the Biblical writers repeat the invitation "Count your blessings" and they don't let any of us off the hook. There are no exceptions. Therefore Paul writes: Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances (Phil. 4:6). Why should we be thankful in all circumstances because "Then God will bless us with peace" (Phil. 4:7). This Thanksgiving take another look and be thankful that there arn't twice as many Congressmen and half as many doctors. Be thankful that hugs and kisses don't add weight or cause cancer. Be thankful that cell phones, TV sets, washers, mixers and lights can be turned off, and that no one can turn off the moon and stars. And heaven forbid, even if you burn the turkey give thanks because Salmonella won't be a concern and Uncle George will eat less and will be less likely to walk around with his pants unbuttoned.

On Thursday and on each day make peace and music in your hearts by always saying and living your thanks!



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