The first thousand thanks

During this past week I noted my thousandth prayer of gratitude to Jesus for all He gives me. What I’ve learned in the 22 months since I first began recording gifts goes way beyond any pop psychology feel good factor. In fact, for much of this time I’ve not felt good at all and counting blessings hasn’t changed that at an emotional level.

The primary lesson has been a realization of how vast the eucharist is. As Ann points out, the Greek word for giving thanks is eucharisteo, and our sacrament of holy communion derives it’s traditional name from the same word:

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
(Luke 22:19 ESV)

Jesus has given Himself that we may have life. The sacrament of communion was instituted to cause us to remember this in thanksgiving and praise. I am learning how vast God’s giving is, and how unending and appropriate is my continual thanksgiving and praise in response. Counting gifts is a useful reminder to look for God’s provision in all of life.

In walking with Christ, straining to see properly, a common theme is my need for constant reinforcement of what He has already taught me. If I could only live what He has already taught me I would be unrecognisably stronger in faith. It is comforting to know others also experience this:

The one who lives his life in circles, discovering, entering into, forgetting and losing, finding his way round again, living his life in layers – deeper, round, further in.
(Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p105 Slightly modified)

The one thousandth gift:

  • Kowhai flower budNew flower buds on the kowhai tree {1,000}

Looking over my list, there are some common themes in what I have counted:

  • My wife
  • My children (and their antics)
  • Increasing knowledge of God
  • Creature comforts
  • Financial stuff
  • Quietness, peace
  • The natural world God has made
  • The creativeness of people
  • Enjoying the company of family and friends
  • Benefits of being born in this place and this time

It could be argued that there is a lot of selfishness in what I am thankful for, this is true but these are the sort of things I noticed as gifts from God. Perhaps as I grow and mature the themes may change, wait until I reach 2,000!

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3 thoughts on “The first thousand thanks

  1. I love that you have a gratitude list here. Even this week I’ve found myself complaining about a small handful of things in my life that are getting to me. And yet I have countless more to be thankful for.

    I looked back at the very beginning of your list, and number 7 jumped out at me:

    “7.The ventolin (salbutamol) that helps my little boy to breathe.”

    Just this week, my little boy has been in hospital on a ventilator, because he had bad asthma from a cold.

    Along with you, I thank God for ventolin, that my boy is back home and much better, and for the countless other blessings God has given me, even today.

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  2. Congratulations on the milestone. I remember starting one of these a couple of years back and found it a huge struggle to keep it going when things were particularly difficult. Hats off to you!

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  3. Mike~ I read this last night in my email (I subscribe to your blog!) and had to get over here to comment. I loved this post so much. This line here: “The primary lesson has been a realization of how vast the eucharist is.” Yes! That’s it, isn’t it? It’s not that giving a thousand thanks makes us happier, though i suppose it can- but it’s so much more that we become aware of the magnitude of the eucharist…. I have so enjoyed hearing your thoughts and seeing your gifts thus far… it’s lovely to share this community with you. God bless you, brother!

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