Thursday, November 22, 2018
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Okay, so they won't deliver mail on Thanksgiving. But it still might be a good day for someone you love to get mail. Possibly hand-delivered by you!
Now, in our world, you know that rare means something is valuable, like antiques, baseball cards, all kinds of collectibles. The less there is of something, the more valuable it is. How about "thank you". Yeah, that's rare.
When Jesus healed ten lepers of their deadly, defacing disease, only one came back to say thanks out of ten. Seems to be how it always is with thank you's. Maybe one thanks for every ten things you should be grateful to God for, or to each other. That's why you can really light up someone's life this Thanksgiving by giving them some thanks in writing, where it can really sink in; where they can go back to it on their dark day.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "You Got Mail – For Thanksgiving."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:29. It's a favorite of mine. In fact, many years ago we had our family memorize this, and well, we wanted everybody to kind of program their heart, and their mind, and their relationships-including me-with this verse. It simply says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building others up." So, the Bible encourages us to use our words to build other people up. We should be in the construction business. And nothing can be more powerful in building people up than words of encouragement, words of gratitude, words that say "thank you", and isn't this a great time to be doing that?
Now, here's the kind of letter you might write. It might be to someone very close to you, or someone you used to be close to until something happened; or someone you pray for but you can't seem to break through to them. In any case, it's just hard to be hard when someone's thanking you for who you are.
Now, we're pretty good at thinking of things we don't like about someone. But something good happens in your heart when you make yourself sit down and you start writing about that person's strengths, and their contributions to your life and to other lives. And something good happens in their life when they get your gratitude in a letter. You are indeed, like the Bible says, building them up.
I've actually seen hard hearts begin to thaw. I've seen closed hearts begin to open when someone who loved them dared to write a letter that, well, went something like this: (I'll give you the parts of the letter.)
Here we go. First of all, "I love you..." Just expressing your affection; your love for them. Now, you've got to fill in the blanks on it. I can't do that for you. But "I love you..." You take it from there. Second part of the letter, "Thank you for..." You've got to do the rest. But think about the specific qualities that you appreciate about them, or experiences or actions, maybe it's just small things. Maybe, you know, they're not always that way. But you have seen that light; a glimmer of that light. Think of the things you can encourage in them that you've seen that you can thank them for. Maybe good things were recent; maybe they were years ago, but there are some things you've got to be thankful for in that person. The third part of the letter goes, "I'm sorry for..." That's the hard part. What are some of the things you wished you'd done differently? Put it there, "I'm sorry for..."
And then, "I wish we could...". That's the last part of the letter. "I wish we could..." How would you like your relationship to be from now on? However it's been recently, however it's been in the past, how would you like it to be in the future? "I wish we could..."
See, if you will open your heart like this, there's a chance they might open theirs. And honestly, there's no better time than Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season to reach out with this gift that only you can give. Because no one can hear all those nice things people say about them at their funeral.
Why don't you give them their bouquets while they can still smell the flowers, and don't wait for the funeral?