Today's reflection comes from Rev Flis

Doing it well…… 2: Being thankful

1 Thessalonians 5: 18
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

As an antidote to last week’s post on moaning and complaining I thought today I’d write about being thankful. So, my first question is this. Are you a thankful person? Do you (*delete as appropriate) always/sometimes/seldom/rarely/never take the time to thank people for what they are doing? Looking at the picture above I wonder which widow you would beat a track to? I think to be honest the picture speaks loudly about the human condition! 

 So often we are so caught up in wanting to complain that we forget to show gratitude. And what I mean by showing gratitude not just living it (which is important, granted) but saying it out loud, writing it down, taking the time to actually thank someone in person – the novelist Gladys Stern once noting that, ‘Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” Indeed Gladys! This was something I leaned early on in my adulthood when I was a newly qualified teacher in Oldham. Older and wiser colleagues would often tell me never to forget to notice the ‘middle of the road’ children; those who don’t demand the teacher’s attention because they have challenging behaviour, or who are out ahead or way behind - but instead diligently and quietly get on with doing what’s been asked of them. I used to make a point of thanking them – and they flourished on that positive attention. And all these years later that has stuck with me and even now I regularly try to thank people, not because they’ve done anything special, but because they have just quietly and diligently got on with what’s been asked of them….and guess what? They always appreciate it. 

 As Christians I believe a spirit of gratitude and being thankful is something we should practice, after all there is much about gratitude and being thankful in the bible. Jesus regularly gave thanks to God, many Psalms begin and end with thanksgiving, the letter writers regularly thanked those they wrote to, as well as thanking God for all his good gifts. 

 As Cicero said ‘Gratitude is noy only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others.’ 

 So, this week can I challenge you to find occasions to thank as many different people as you can? Not only will it be lovely for them but, you know, I think it will help you too. 

 Let’s finishing by singing this wonderful hymn of gratitude and thanksgiving.