Mind Your Manners

By Johnnesha Parker 

’Tis the season to be thankful.  I love this time of year…the fall colors, cozy evenings by the fireplace with my family gathered around, gorging myself on turkey, pies, and casseroles.  There’s just something about the holiday season that compels me to reflect on how God has blessed me through the past months.

I walk through the grocery store, and I’m almost overwhelmed by the vast array of fruits and vegetables, fresh from the harvest. I thank God that I have money in my wallet to purchase healthy food for my family.  I pass a child throwing a tantrum over the video game their parent said “No” to, and I thank God that my children are behaving [for the moment].  We pile our bags into my truck and drive home.  As we pass a bus stop along the way, I silently thank God that I have reliable transportation of my own.  When I think about it, there are hundreds of opportunities, more than I could list, to thank God.

Then, I wonder, “How many times do we simply forget to thank God?”

We teach our children to say “thank you” when someone gives them something.  God gives me more than I could ask for: life, loving family, a warm home, and friends who pray for me.  When my children forget to say thank you for a gift received, I sometimes threaten to return the gift until they adopt a more grateful attitude.  It’s such bad manners not to say thanks.  I’m so thankful that God doesn’t have to take back all his blessings to make me thankful for what I have.

I can even thank God for not giving me what I deserve.  Lord knows I’ve sinned enough in my lifetime to earn a front row seat in hell, but thank God for his grace and forgiveness!  Not only did He forgive me for my past, but He also blesses my present and future!  As a parent, I often reward or discipline my children based on their actions, but there are also occasions when they receive good things simply because I love them.  God has blessed me with His grace so that I receive all sorts of favor and blessings that I know I don’t deserve…it is simply His way of saying “I love you.”  How can I not say thank you?  It would be bad manners…ungrateful.

This month, make an extra effort to acknowledge God’s blessings and give thanks everyday.  Keep a journal or even start a blog filled with the many ways He has blessed your life.  Get the whole family involved!  It’s a great way to show children how to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Start now, today is another day God has blessed you with…what are you thankful for?

“Oh give thanks unto the Lord of lords; for his loving kindness endureth for ever…” —Psalms 136:3