There are a number of ways to close an email; many times I go with the standard, “Thanks!” just before the block of pre-populated text with my name, title, and contact information. It’s so automatic, almost mechanical. It’s like the compulsory finish to nearly any note. But how often are we really thanking someone in an email?
I’ll never forget my first outing after my daughter was born. I did everything right, I drove slowly through the parking lot, I covered her up with a blanket as we ran toward the door and my inner clock was on the countdown for the next time she would need to eat again. I quickly strolled through the aisles looking at all the cute baby things. As we finished picking up the few items we needed, and maybe a few we didn’t, I headed toward the checkout line, and then finally out to the car.
Tyler Carach is a 9-year-old on a mission to say, “Thank you.” His goal is to say, “Thank you” to as many police officers as possible. Tyler’s mom, a former police officer herself, told him that all police officers like doughnuts. Since learning this, Tyler has been handing out doughnuts to as many police officers as possible.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
Thou hast commanded thy precepts
to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping thy statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all thy commandments.
I will praise thee with an upright heart,
when I learn thy righteous ordinances.
I will observe thy statutes;
O forsake me not utterly!
One of the special times of worship that I look forward to each year is when we present our 3rd grade students their Bibles. It is a significant rite of passage as the students are brought in front of the church, recognized in front of their family of faith, and given the gift of God’s word. Great care is taken in having each Bible imprinted with their names. There is such joy on the face of each child as they come forward and receive their Bible.
You may remember news circulation in 2014 about an article in the journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience that spoke about the identification of a gene variation that heightened the tendency to experience, as researchers put it, “global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness and positive emotions (particularly love)” or something we think of as gratitude. That’s right, heightened sense of gratitude can be simply a genetic mutation. Man, that is a bummer, right? You’re either grateful or doomed to be unfulfilled and unsatisfied by the events and people around you.
Recently, while at home with my daughters when my wife was out of town at a workshop, one of the girls was being persistent in asking to do something that day. I told her we would not be doing what she was asking to do that day. I also told her that I knew her mom had already said, “No” before she left home. She quickly told me, “Well, Mom is out of town.”
You just fall into a deep sleep and your head is slowly drifting off the side of the bed when the dog licks your face and wakes you up…not so grateful. You finally get the car washed and it’s sparkling but as you park, SPLAT, you know what lands on your windshield…not so grateful. You plan and are so excited about your upcoming mission trip and you end up with emergency eye surgery because your retina has detached so you can’t make the trip…not so grateful. Your son calls to tell you he got a new job but it’s in Indiana…not so grateful. You are happy about saving some extra money and the air conditioning goes out at your house…not so grateful.
Life is full of unexplained events. We see things happen around us and our only reaction is to shake our heads in wonder and amazement. Many of the events that take place around us fill our lives with joy and excitement whiles others are shockingly sad and disrupt life. When these events happen, good and bad, we often reason that they are, “The will of God.”