Feature

Gerald A. Klingbeil

Associate Editor, Adventist Review

Never Enough?

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

I am grateful for the small and big things that make life wonderful. I woke up this morning in a warm and comfortable bed in a sturdy and dry home. I enjoyed a nourishing meal. I could walk and pray with my wife. My car starts most days without any problem and I am able to take my girls to an Adventist school with teachers who care about them—intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.

I work at a place where prayer is nothing out of the ordinary and people enjoy worship “on the clock.” I am surrounded by creative people who love Jesus and are passionate about His soon coming. I value their humor and care. I appreciate their dedication to this church.

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

“...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father”

Some months ago my wife read A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s a compelling book that tells the story of somebody who struggled with life and God’s justice—until she began to consciously say “Thank you.” So, my dear wife began to make a list of the small and big things she was grateful for. The list has grown ever since and she is now at number 111. Some days, she forgets the list. But then, out of the blue, she remembers God’s goodness and mercy and grace and all the other good things we often take for granted. She then looks for her book and continues her litany of blessings. I enjoy listening to her list. As I listen, however, I realize that her list cannot be mine, even though I feel inspired. We catch a glimpse of God’s grace and His ever-moving presence personally and individually.

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

Most of us determine on Thanksgiving morning that we should say more often “Thank You.” Thank You is built into this unique American holiday. From food to family to fellowship—we are grateful. Often unfortunately, we have forgotten by Black Friday.

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

Scripture teaches me to be grateful. Paul writes about “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:20 NASB). That’s a big challenge. How can I do that, “always giving thanks for all things”? How could Paul say that, considering the many challenging situations he found himself in? I wonder about the nasty comments we sometimes catch, spoken softly and never to our face. I wonder how the gratefulness Paul speaks about can cover even those who hurt us or wounded somebody we love and care about deeply. Can I be grateful for them as well? Must I be grateful?

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

Ellen White sensed the power of thankfulness in the midst of challenges as she wrote to the Maxson family on July 3, 1892—a 64-year-old widow suffering poor health and residing in Australia, far away from home: “I sleep but very little; but I am not in any way disheartened or discouraged. The Lord gives me of His Holy Spirit, and comforts me by His grace. I have much brightness in the night season. I love to think of Jesus, and His goodness and His mercy. I am full of thankfulness that I have my reason, I have my memory, and I have Jesus as my personal Saviour. I may live or I may die, but I am the Lord’s. He loves me, and I love Him. My peace is often like a river. I am filled with His love. I can see no reason for this affliction except overwork” (Letter 21a, 1892). Talk about living truly in God’s presence.

I am grateful—but I don’t say it often enough.

I am grateful—and I want to say it more. So, thank you family, friends, colleagues, church members, neighbors, shop attendants, car mechanics, designers, printers, flight attendants, pilots, hotel maids, drivers, and all the other people who bless me every day. You are appreciated, you are valued, you are loved. And, yes, even in the dark moments of my life, I breathe a “thank you” to the hovering Spirit, ready to quiet my doubting heart.

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