With Thanksgiving a few short days away, I’ve been doing some thinking about being thankful and what it means.
(courtesy of marontherun.com)
Maybe someone very clever somewhere, at some point in time, has already stated this, but perhaps then it bears repeating: Being thankful without showing appreciation is like saying you’re sorry for something but not really meaning it.
Let me explain.
We can say that we are thankful for many things and rightfully so. I personally am thankful to have all of the blessings which God has given me: a family to love, a home to live in, friends who support and encourage me, a job which brings me satisfaction, and a faith that sustains me. But simply being thankful for those things is just not enough. We also need to show appreciation for our blessings as well. If I am thankful for my family, but yet I never appreciate the kind things they do out of love for me, then my gratefulness is false. If I am thankful for my home, but yet I don’t take care of it, then I certainly am not thankful for the blessing of shelter. If I am thankful for my friends, but yet I do not treat them with the respect and love that they show me, then my thankfulness is null and void. And so on. I think you catch my drift.
So, while we may feel and truly believe that we are thankful, how many times in our lives do we catch ourselves repeating the well-worn “thank you” without much thought? And how many times have we gone the step further and actually shown appreciation in our thankfulness?
(courtesy of bluecricketdesign.com)
I often think of the many individuals in our churches and communities who work tirelessly on initiatives near and dear to their hearts without pay or merit, simply because they want to. These people use their time, energy, and, in many cases, their own money and resources to provide services for others without any benefit to themselves. These people aren’t looking for a “pat on the back” or their names on the credit reel of life; in fact they are often the ones working behind the scenes trying to be ‘unnoticed’. At the same time, however, I know how much it means to those people to be appreciated and to be sincerely thanked for the work that they do.
It is also important not to allow ourselves to fall into the trap of criticizing the work of others, especially when we do not step up to the plate to volunteer for things ourselves. It is easy to stand back and say that things should be done a certain way, especially when we are not the ones having to do the work. It is equally easy to sit back and express disappointment because certain things weren’t carried out or were done in a way which personally wasn’t approved of. One of the most disheartening issues as a volunteer is to be made to feel that you are not doing an adequate job at something you love to do. While constructive criticism can be helpful, it also needs to be well-timed and delivered in a proper manner, otherwise it is just criticism.
Being truly thankful and appreciative to those volunteers who have stepped up to the plate to perform a service or to organize a group, most likely when no one else would, is very important. It is important to appreciate those people because, as is often the case, if they no longer did what they were doing, the work or service would never get done. It is also just as important to be thankful and appreciative to those who go the extra mile, who go above and beyond their ‘call of duty’, and who do more than their paying job requires of them as well. It is those people who are not looking to be thanked that often deserve the most acknowledgment for what they do.
Now I know some of us may be thinking that if people choose to do something out of their own will, then they shouldn’t search out recognition or have the ‘need’ to be noticed. I think the majority of these giving people don’t do things to be praised nor do they look for credit, but once again, it’s really nice to be appreciated when you have worked really hard at making something great for others to enjoy. And, furthermore, if some people do things to receive credit, commendations, or whatever accolades they seek, BUT they are doing a good job, then I say give them the credit they deserve anyway. Those who do things with sincere hearts will always be blessed.
So this Thanksgiving I encourage you, dear friends, to be thankful for all of the blessings in your life – the people and things which you have been so greatly blessed with. I also encourage you to be appreciative of the people who do the often thankless jobs in making our community and our world a better place. Happy Thanksgiving!
(courtesy of imgarcade.com)