“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
In a previous article I listed some things for which I am grateful. (v8 #45 Nov 6, 2022). Today I’d like to make a list of the People to which I am grateful.
Many people claim that they are self-made and in need of help from no one. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The scripture says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Everything we have in life will come through or because of others.
We need people. We’re not going to be able to grow all our own food, refine our own gas, nor sow our own clothing. Our needs in life lie at the root of all economies.
Therefore, it is of great necessity that we are grateful to others. Have you taken the time to thank them personally? Do you recognize who they are? Let’s consider who it is that deserves our gratitude.
Certainly, first on our list is GOD. “…He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45b). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17). Every good gift comes from above, ought not we give thanks?
Some of the most important people in our lives are often the worst treated of all people, and these are our RELATIVES. We certainly need to show them gratitude. Our parents birthed us and provided for us. Our children bring us a sense of purpose. Our extended families bring us comfort and belonging. Spouses aid one another both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While this is the ideal, it may have it rough spots. Nevertheless, let us be grateful to those we love the most. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:1-4).
Another group of people to add to the gratitude list are the AGED. These are those who have been through what we have yet to experience. These can be a source of good knowledge on how to live good lives. Not because they always did it right, but that they sometimes did it wrong and learned from their mistakes. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:2-5).
I’m also grateful for those who have educated themselves with those highly TECHNICAL skills that makes civilized life possible. This would include doctors, surgeons, and engineers, but it must also include those with TECHNICAL skills in the blue-collar fields; ie., mechanics, plumbers, and electricians to name just a few. How would life be without these TALENTED people? “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1Tim 5:18; cf., Le 19:13; De 24:14-15; 25:4).
Let us also be grateful for those service EMPLOYEES who are often overlooked or looked down upon. These folks prepare our food, make our clothes, and also make civilized life possible. “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph 6:9; cf., Rom 2:11; 1Co 7:22; Col 3:25-4:1).
While we’re making this list of people let us never forget our FRIENDS & Co-Workers. It’s self-evident that we desire FRIENDS. These are people we choose to make a part of our lives because of common values and interests. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). Are these not worthy of our gratitude?
An odd one that I put on my list are those that are UNFRIENDLY. We can be grateful even for these. Our savior told us that He loved us while we were enemies, and commands us to love our enemies (Rom 5:8-9; Luke 6:27), but can we also be grateful? I think so. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1Cor 11:19). The unfriendly, the unkind, the unruly, and the other “uns” become a contrast to help us recognize what is good. I know it sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can understand this verse.
Lastly, would be our LEADERS. It is a direct command to pray for them, and it is clear that God rules in the kingdoms of men, therefore let us give thanks. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:1-4; cf., Dan 4:17).
One more thing; The above is a general list of the groups of people to whom we could show thanks. I urge you to take it a bit further and to specifically identify individuals in each of these categories that you could recognize with thanksgiving. I began making a list, years ago, of people who have made an impact in my life. Names are constantly being added to it. Then I make a point to thank them in person, or with a note, and I certainly give thanks to God for them.
If you do this, you will be amazed at how much people change when we begin to be grateful for them and show it to them.