Have you ever committed a thank you faux pas? It's an easy mistake, especially after weddings and graduations, where many well-wishers may bless you with a gift. A card is separated from a package, the delivery service goofs up, or some other misstep leads you to overlook a giver who should be acknowledged.
Sometimes we miss a thank you because we thank the wrong giver. If a pile of gifts is gathered up and transported, a card may slip out from beneath that pretty ribbon. Now, one loose card and one cardless gift presents an easy riddle. If you have four loose cards and four unmarked packages (or worse, three loose cards and five mystery packages), the challenge is more complex. Before you know it, Aunt Betty is wondering why you thanked her for the napkin rings when she gave you a waffle iron. And college roommate Anna doesn't understand why you thanked her for towels when she sent you a lovely set of napkin rings.
It's also possible to step in the thank you etiquette mud because we don't realize we've received a gift. Recently my husband helped his son Ryan move. He drove my truck to haul Ryan's stuff from one household to a new one. The next day, I discovered a coffee grinder on the floor in the cab of my truck. It was an unusually hectic week at our house and I didn't think to mention my find until several days later. I was talking with Ryan and I said, "Oh, by the way--I've been meaning to call you. I found your coffee mill in my truck when you moved." Ryan said, "That's for you." It was a gift, but I didn't know it was a gift, so I had failed to thank him for it.
Better at Godspotting, Better at Thanksgiving
God wants us to thank Him for His presence in our lives, the grace of His forgiveness, His promise of an eternal home, and all His other provisions for His children. Here's the tricky part: It's hard to offer thanks if you don't know who gave you the gift. It's harder still if you don't even know you've received one! Fortunately, we can develop a habit of noticing His hand on our lives.
When Jesus gave me socks, it was instantly obvious to me that God was providing for me. It was clear because of the peace I felt in my heart. In contrast to my distress of the previous days, I suddenly knew that whatever toll the fire exacted, we'd be just fine (as it happened, the fire spared our entire neighborhood). Sometimes God's hand isn't quite as clear. He works in His time and in His ways. After all, He's God, and we're not.
New Christians often pray tentatively. We know we're supposed to pray, but we're not sure what to say or how to say it. This uncertainty often yields fumbling, mumbling prayers. With time and experience, we become fluent in prayer and it flows more freely.
Like prayer, noticing God's blessings in our lives is a spiritual skill. Some people may have more of a knack for it than others, but everyone can learn to spot God more fluently by simply looking for Him. In another post, soon, I'll share tips for developing our "eye" for God.
17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is
God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 (NLT)