October 17, 2019
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Our grandson wants to major in philosophy in college. A few days ago, we got to sample what kind of philosophy we might expect from his one-of-a-kind brain. It's not exactly Socrates. But it's interesting and within the reach of the common man. He received some gifts for graduation, and here's the philosophical gem he spoke to his mother: "You live. You die. And in the middle, you write thank you cards."
I'm Ron Hutchcrat and I want to have A Word With You today about "Thanks. A Lot."
Profound in its own way what he said. Then I got to thinking about what he said. And how, in a way, it is true. Or should be. Oh, not necessarily the cards. But the "thank yous." We're all like that infamous turtle on top of the fencepost. There's no way he could have gotten there on his own. Someone had to help him get there.
Woven generously through the tapestry of my life are those people who God has used to elevate my life. Like my Mom and Dad, who made me feel valued and who celebrated the gifts God has given me. Above all, my precious Karen. No man could have asked for a wife more loyal, more willing to love me in those times when honestly there wasn't much to love. And who faithfully was God's mirror to show me the me I didn't always want to see, so I could become more like Jesus.
I am - look, we all are - a river made up of hundreds of people who were the tributaries to make us what we are today. My "loyal like Mom" children and grandchildren, from whom I am constantly learning. Faithful friends, "cheerleaders," prayer warriors, pastors, youth leaders, loyal siblings, teachers - the more I think, the more I have to thank.
But have I? Before they're gone? A call, a note, a text, a card - maybe my thank you would be just the encouragement they need to get back in the ring for another round. Or to remind them that their life, in fact, has made a difference. In a sense, my whole life should be a walking, talking thank you card. The return on their investment in me. "To whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48).
But no one has invested in me more than my Jesus. "He loved me," the Bible says, "and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). In the Bible's words, "You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The shedding of holy blood. The thorns. The nails. The spear. And the unspeakable soul-agony of His Father turning His back on His Son so He would never have to turn His back on me.
And if that weren't enough, "Out of the fullness of His grace," the Bible says, "we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16). Every day - all through each day - there have been God-sightings if I have eyes to see them. The text that came just at the right time. The flowers beautifying the yard reminding me of the Artist who made them. The Scripture or the song that goes right to my need. Just waking up healthy, or just waking up.
Every day, is a "day the Lord has made" (Psalm 118:24). Not the weather. Not the doctor. Not the demands. Not the finances. The Lord. He designs each day as threads - some darker, some brighter - in this grand tapestry He is weaving in your life and mine.
So I get it. What David said. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:1, "I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises." Yes, there is always something to trust Him for. But there's always something to thank Him for.
And the real "thank you card" is my life. I guess some thank you cards have legs to walk in His footsteps and hands to do what He would do in someone's life. And lips to tell the Hope Story of my life that only a Savior like Jesus could have written. A life lived as my "thank you" to Jesus is my little gift to Him for His incalculable gift to me.
The Bible reveals that heaven is filled with praises for the One who is called "the Lamb who was slain." So I might as well get used to living my thanks to Him. I guess you could call it heaven practice.
So, my philosopher grandson made me laugh at first with what he said, and now made me think. "We live. We die. And in between a thank you card" - called my life.