This afternoon I gave Jackson a graham cracker and he said for the first time after weeks of prompting…”tank you”. It was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. It is so important to us that our children have good manners and know the proper way to ask for things and show their appreciation appropriately. Sometimes it feels like a constant battle when we ask of them if they would like something and they simply say…”Na…” We have to correct them and reply “Please say ‘no thank you’…” They repeat as if with the tone of “yeah, yeah mom…I know” but it’s so important as they grow to instill this in them…even if it seems to sometimes be a constant struggle. But this gratitude idea got me thinking.
Children don’t understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They’re born completely and totally dependent on us and as we grow we have to teach them to not only ultimately become self-reliant but generous, loving and kind. Much like Jackson doesn’t understand all of the things Nathan and I do for him as his parents, and much like I didn’t understand all of the sacrifices my parents made for me growing up, I didn’t understand the weight of what Jesus did for me when I asked Him to be my Savior. I was 7 years old and very thankful for Him saving me from my sins and eternal separation from God, but as I look back I feel like I took His grace and mercy for granted at the time and in the years following. I just didn’t “get it”. My thanks to him was much like Jackson’s “Tank you!” While I’m sure it was a sweet sound to Him, Jesus knew I didn’t fully understand what it meant to truly be thankful.
As I got older I think being a Christian was just part of my identity. Jesus is my Savior, Lord of all, King of Kings, Prince of Peace…all of those things. Jesus is the ONLY way and that was just the way it is. But at what point did I “get it”. When did I understand that Jesus paid the price for me? When did the reverance for Him sink in? I can’t really say there was a time it all “clicked”. It’s been a journey on this road of life. It’s been continual growth, constant learning and Him revealing Himself to me…teaching me. It’s been through triumph and struggle, joy and sorrow, rejoicing and suffering. It’s now as I look back I can see how far God has brought me…and how far I still have to go.
This journey of faith is perplexing sometimes. You never “get there”…until I actually get there…as in heaven…oh glorious day! There is always more to learn…always more to explore…always more to do…always more for God to show us while we’re here on earth. In frustration I often say “Why did it take me so long to get this?” Something I’ve been struggling with is how in the world can I show Jesus my gratitude? When I say “thank you” it seems so insignificant in comparison to what He’s done for me. He gave up His life and He’s GOD! He left heaven and became a man for all eternity…died the most humiliating, excruciating death…and He’s GOD…talk about sacrifice! Today in prayer I asked Him this question…”How can I show you my gratitude for all You’ve done?”…and do you know what His response was? “You can thank me by giving me your life.” Once again…why did it take me so long to get that? Yes I’ve said I want to be His servant…I want to do what He asks of me…I want to be obedient…but now I know what I have to do.
The thing is…it’s not a decision for me to make once and be done…and “get there”. It’s a decision to make minute-by-minute…a constant wrestling with my flesh. Am I going to do what God wants me to do or am I going to do what I want to do? Am I going to put aside my plans…big or small…and believe in him enough to trust His plans for me instead of my own? While “tank you” might be sweet…it’s just not enough anymore. I earnestly want say “Thank you”…and now I know what I need to do…minute by minute.