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Give Thanks, with a Grateful Heart

by | Nov 21, 2017 | East District Newsletter, East District Web Page

It was a simple note, left in a blessing box that made so much of an impact.

Book with supplies and "Take What You Need " SignThis last Saturday I met with the people at Desert Chapel UMC for their church conference. Toward the end of the time together one woman stood to share a moving story. You see, the congregation was aware of the number of people in the community who had simple needs, but might never ask for help. The church decided to offer God’s love in a gentle way. They created a Blessing Box – a storage cabinet that is placed outside, where access is easy. It is filled with simple things that people might want on a daily basis. Anyone could take what they needed, no charge.

Some of the items placed in the Blessing Box are given through a partnership between Desert Chapel UMC and Gold Canyon UMCs food bank ministry. Some of the items are gifts of love and compassion from the people of the church. All of the items are donated with prayer for those in need.

From time to time the people of the church would find expressions of gratitude left in the box – four pennies were recently found – a quarter was left earlier. On Saturday what captured my heart was the note the speaker held in her hand – a torn bit of paper that had obviously been wet. The writing on the paper was blurry, yet still legible. At the top of the paper was the word, “thanks.”

It has been a difficult year for so many people, but what I learn from that note of thanks is that the attitude of the heart is what makes the difference in life.

My family taught me that true thanksgiving is not only an attitude, but it carries through in how we live our lives. Selfishness diminishes, generosity grows. Fear decreases, trust increases. Hate and anger begins to give way to grace and love. And people who are strangers or enemies find ways to become friends.

Somehow life changes when we begin with that humble word, “Thanks.”

This week I invite you to engage in an experiment – say thank you to as many people as possible.  Don’t say it as you would if you were quickly pushing past the person holding a door open for you. Stop – make eye contact – smile.  Then say thank you.  Be intentional in giving thanks.

In living this way, we will have all learned from a note left in a Blessing Box, by someone whose name we will never know, but whose actions have taught us well.

Be blessed this Thanksgiving, and then be a blessing to someone else.

Psalm 107:8-9 (NRSV)

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.

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