An Encouraging Word — Let’s express our gratitude

… walk in him, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

The older I get, the more grateful I feel. I became aware of the great insight a while back that whatever success I have had in my ministry and personal life would not have been possible without help from others.

I owe my happiness to a lot of wonderful people. I am where I am today, not because of my own efforts alone, but because of God’s grace and the grace of many wonderful people. Let me then use this column during this Thanksgiving week to express my gratitude to all those who have blessed my life in the crossing, whether they read this column or not.

People filled with gratitude, first of all, express their gratitude. Silent gratitude is not much good to anyone. Gratitude prompts us to bless others. No, I don’t mean waving crosses over them. To bless is to hold in reverence, to wish unconditional, total, unrestricted good. To bless is to invoke divine care upon, to think or speak gratefully of others. On this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to bless those of you who have blessed me over the years.

Expressing gratitude is something we must train ourselves to do. I am amazed at how often, especially when I am working with the young, when expressing gratitude is absent.

My own mother must have said to me a zillion times, “Ronnie, say thank you!” Maybe this is the training that is lacking in some parenting today. People are always talking about a “growing sense of entitlement” among the young. When one feels “entitled” and feels that they “deserve it,” then why bother to say “thank you?” I would certainly not invest in the Hallmark “Thank You” card line these days!

Expressing gratitude is more than good manners. Expressing gratitude to more people brings more people into your life. Gratitude enriches the one who expresses it. Failure to express gratitude diminishes the one who fails to express it. This is what the fable of the “Golden Goose” is really about. If you feed it, it keeps producing golden eggs, but if you go in and grab all you can get, you are said to be guilty of “killing the golden goose.”

“Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.” Every withheld expression of thanks and gratitude is part of our problem today.

For strange some reason, we seem to have this tendency to wait until the funeral to really express our gratitude to one another. Recently, I came across a list of the good things I told a young priest in my deacon class before his ordination — something I do for all of them each year.

That young priest was killed instantly in a traffic accident a few weeks after I said those thing to his face. I choke up every time I read them.
Let us express our thanks to God, certainly, but let us also not forget to thank each other as well.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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