Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does in the Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the great things as well.
We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts prepared for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think that we should not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be seeking the great gifts. Then we complain that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experiences that God has given to other Christians, and we consider these complaints to be pious. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the small (and yet really not so small!) gifts we receive daily. How can God entrust great things to those who will not gratefully receive the little things from God's hand?
You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name.... Isaiah 12:1-4
Questions to Ponder
What are the cultural forces in our society that work against the experience and expression of thankfulness?
What are the "small gifts" we receive from God each day?
How could such "small gifts" be affirmed, honored, and celebrated in a community of faith?
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits․
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:1-5
At the end of each remaining day in this 40-day journey, write in your journal a list of those things from that day for which you are grateful.
Reflect on how the "small gifts" you receive from God shape your life and your relationships.
Pray that you would be a voice of thanksgiving in your family, among your friends and co-workers, and in your community of faith. Pray that your voice of thanksgiving would encourage others to give voice to the many things for which they are thankful.
Prayer for Today
Lord, open my eyes that I may see the giftedness of my life and let my life be a hymn of praise and thanksgiving.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.