Faithfully Yours - Two small words with one big meaning


Neil Strohschein
Neepawa Banner & Press

This coming Monday, Canadians will observe Thanksgiving Day.

Print, electronic and social media will be filled with the usual greetings. We will be urged to give thanks for the blessings we have received, to acknowledge how fortunate we are to live in this country, and to remember those who are not as fortunate as we are—all words that we have heard before.

We will hear the same words this coming Sunday as people gather for worship. This time, they will come from our worship leaders and preachers; and they will be spoken with passion and power; because they are words that we need to hear.

But hearing the words is one thing. Letting what we hear change how we think, how we speak and how we live is quite another. Yet that is what we need to do and in the words that follow, I would like to suggest two ways in which we can begin this process.

First, we can put ourselves “in the shoes” of those who serve us in the businesses we patronize, the eateries we visit for meals out, the offices of the professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) with whom we consult when necessary; or those who clean houses, cut lawns, trim or remove trees, collect the trash and clean our streets. These people use their time and talents to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. For that, they deserve honor and our highest respect.

You see, every job has its challenges. Every worker has to put up with people who, at times, can be downright nasty and rude. There is never an excuse for such behavior; but at times, frustration and anger overtake us, we speak before we think and we take out our frustrations on those who had no hand in making the decisions that anger us, but who have to take the flack for them. If we think about the challenges they face each day, we will be less inclined to speak out of turn, more inclined to treat them with dignity, place high value on their work and thank them for it.

Second, we can go above and beyond the call of duty in the work that we do. On our recent trip to Minnesota, Kathryn and I met many people for whom this was a way of life. They greeted us warmly when we entered their places of business, went out of their way to help us and answer our questions, thanked us sincerely for the purchases we made and invited us to come again. We were overwhelmed by the way they treated everyone who came through their doors. They set a good example for us to follow. It was easy to thank them for what they had given us because they let us know they were grateful for what we had given them.

You and I brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out of it. Everything that we have is ours because other people invested their time, God-given talents and treasure in us.

When we say “thank you,” we don’t just thank the front line workers for what they have done. We thank those who employ them, those who trained them, those who provided the resources they needed to make the products we required and the God who gave them the skills and abilities they used to serve us. Saying “thank you” to one is saying “thank you” to them all.

So let us give thanks for everything, in everything and make thanksgiving a daily habit.