by Pastor Tim Burt
My mom was absolutely amazing. She was supermom. She cooked family meals morning and night and made lunch for ten kids every day. She did laundry every day. She ironed our clothes, our sheets and pillow cases—just about everything. She took us everywhere and was at every life-event she could be at. How she kept her sanity I will never know. She’s in Heaven now, but I can’t wait to tell her again how amazing she was and how thankful I am to have had her as my mom.
I was about 8 years old. I was the fifth of ten children. My bedroom was next to our laundry room. I was not a good sleeper growing up and so I’d wake up frequently at night. Mom wasn’t a great sleeper either. She probably had too much on her mind. I would see her many nights doing laundry at 2 or 3 in the morning. Even at that young age, it made my heart ache for how hard she worked for us.
One day I made a decision. I was going to find ways to help mom. Our laundry room was also our coat closet for our shoes, coats, hats, mittens, boots, and more. It looked like a hotel coat-check room it was so packed. And we were kids so this room always looked like a tornado had blown through.
One night while mom was at a PTA meeting, I decided I was going to reorganize the entire room perfectly. It took me three hours and I finished just before 10 pm. I was getting a drink of water before going to bed when my mom came home. She saw me in the kitchen and instantly got mad at me for still being up past my bedtime. She chewed me out and sent me to bed but I didn’t tell her why I was up. I felt bad but had still wanted to surprise her.
Within ten minutes she was in my room sitting on the bed besides me running her fingers through my hair, kissing me on the cheek, and almost crying she felt so bad. She had seen the newly organized laundry room, figured out that I had done it, and felt horrible for yelling at me. She thanked me over and over again for doing this for her. She proceeded to tell me just how much it meant to her and how much it helped her. I asked her about getting a rack for all the boots and shoes and a file cabinet for putting the hats and mittens in to keep them sorted. She got me both and we had the most organized laundry room one could imagine. I made it my job to keep it organized for her.
My mom was the world’s greatest appreciator. She’d gush with thanks and then thank us again. It was so motivating that it made me want to help her even more which I did. I could also see she needed help with her garden, so I began to help her with that each year. I guess that’s where gardening got in my blood because I am now an avid gardener which I am forever thankful for. And helping her with the garden became a new faucet of thanks that flowed from my mom to me.
Thankfulness is such a powerful and motivating force and yet, in my experience, the majority of people are somewhere between poor and a dismal failure at it. Should that surprise us? I guess it’s been that way for a while. Can you imagine being healed from leprosy and not being thankful? I can’t.
In Luke 17:14-19 (NIV) we read the story of the ten lepers that cried out to Jesus to heal them. He did. But then we read, “And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Do you see that only one came back to thank Jesus? Because his heart was full of thanksgiving he received more than the others from God. All of them were cleansed of leprosy, but to the thankful one Jesus said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” He got something more from God. His eyes were open to see who Jesus was. He could see that Jesus was God. That’s why he came back praising God and throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. His heart of thanksgiving brought him more than healing. It opened His eyes to whom Jesus truly was, and it brought him eternal life. A heart of thanksgiving will open your eyes to see more of God and result in more of His blessing in your life!
Philippians 4:6 (NIV) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” God wants us to pray and ask His help in everything, but the question is, do we even pay attention to or thank him for the multitude of prayers He has already answered? If we don’t have a continuing attitude of thanksgiving we’ll miss seeing those many prayers He’s already answered for us and His intimate involvement in our lives.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done things for people, things that have taken time, effort, and sacrifice. The averages of appreciation are about the same as in the story of the lepers. Only a small percentage show true appreciation. That’s okay. That’s not why I do things for people. It won’t keep me from reaching out to help and be a blessing. But I feel bad because I know it will hinder them from so much more blessing in their life. (Here’s a thought to chew on!) You have greater appreciation for what you celebrate with sincere thanksgiving.
Lastly, having a thankful spirit is a godly attribute God wants us to develop. It draws more of His blessing in our life. It’s the truth!
Thank you mom for modeling this and helping develop thankfulness within me! I am eternally thankful to God and you for it!
Psalms 100:4 (NIV) “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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