This summer, before her wedding, Sarah went to a local florist to order her flowers. After working through it all and a nice visit with the florist, Sarah thanked her for all her help, great prices, and wanting things to be the way Sarah desired them. Then the florist had a very surprising and sad response. She said, “You know, Honey. I work hard to make the flowers exactly the way the bride wants them for her special day. Sometimes it takes a toll on me. But the only ones I ever hear from after the wedding are the ones who are unhappy about something.” That statement grabbed both Sarah and my hearts. Obviously even though she was being paid for her work, she was putting more into it than it simply fulfilling a job and her heart yearned for some recognition of that.
With our U. S. Thanksgiving holiday coming up soon, I wanted to focus on expressing gratitude to others for ways they bless us, like the florist who goes beyond her duty to make a wedding beautiful. As I went for verses that endorse this thought, I came up dry. The closest verses I found were general suggestions that thankfulness to someone might fall into like:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
From these verses, we would probably agree that being grateful to someone for something they have done is a way of being kind to them. It is also how we want to be treated so Luke 6:31 encourages us that is what we would do to another. We like to be thanked when we have done something for another and can feel taken for granted if our kindness isn’t acknowledged.
The multitude of verses in Scripture that have to do with thanksgiving, though, tell us to be thankful to God. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
In the end, when we are blessed by another person, God is the reason. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
This brings us to consider if perhaps we become so involved in thanking others when they bless us – which we should do – that we neglect to thank the One Who allowed the blessing to come to us. Could it be that we thank the Lord for what He does that another human being couldn’t do such as providing rain when it has been very dry or healing a sickness or injury, but we aren’t as often thankful to Him for His blessings through other people?
I want to thank those who bless me like the florist and let them know my genuine appreciation for how they have served me. I also desire, though, to thank my God, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift. The more my thoughts and words are involved in gratitude and expressing them, the less I focus on myself and the less my words descend into complaining. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). May we be women of thanksgiving, first to God and then to others.