Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 4
Children do not always appreciate what parents do for them. They have short memories. Their concern is not what Mom and Dad did for them yesterday, but what are Mom and Dad doing for them today, right now. The past is meaningless and so is the future. They live for the present. Whereas those who are mature are deeply appreciative for past, present, and future.
Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we need to learn it here before we get to heaven. Just as we, who are parents, are committed to teaching our children to say “Thank you,” God also is committed to teaching His children gratitude.
Many of us don’t think too often about gratitude. Author William A. Ward convicts us when he said, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” One out of 86,400 to say thanks, to show gratitude. That’s .00001 percent.
Remember the days before Kindles and Ibooks when we used to have to go to libraries to get a book? I remember having to read newspapers on microfiche film and going through card catalogues to locate where the books were on the shelves. My family and I still use the library, and we always seem to have overdue books because my children can’t find them to return them. Most of us who frequent libraries have brought back overdue books and paid the few pennies’ fine. It’s irritating, of course, but it’s what we get for being so forgetful. When I read this story about fines, though, our family’s fines didn’t seem nearly so terrible.
George Szamuely borrowed books from the New York University library but never returned them. In fact, he’d hoarded more than five hundred books! That’s taking overdue books to a new level. Police finally called on him to get him to pay his fine and return the books. The fine exceeded $31,000! He couldn’t pay it, So George was hauled into court, where he faced grand larceny charges, meaning possible jail time. The forty-four-year-old was charged with possession of stolen property. It’s kind of a funny story, and yet it’s also irritatingly sad. How can a man let so many books be overdue and neglect to return them?
I think worse than overdue books are overdue thank you’s to God.
I am in arrears in gratitude to God. Steven Furtick once said, “You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.” And the truth is, you’re not entitled to anything, because it’s all a gift from God. First Corinthians 4:7 is one simple sentence that sums up the motive of our gratitude: “What have you that was not given to you?” (AMPC). Meister Eckhart said, “The most important prayer in the world is just two words long: Thank you.” I owe a lot of those to God today. I’m betting you do too. How about we pause today and give God one of our 86,400 with a “thank you”?