At eight years old, I didn’t like to share. My two younger sisters and I fought constantly. We argued about everything — food, clothes, toys, and time with each other. The only two hours of peace each week occurred on Saturday mornings, as if we were calling a truce, when we watched cartoons on our black and white television set. We loved the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, primed by “opening act cartoons,” including Fractured Fairytales and also a silly (and cute) sketch starring a pair of very polite squirrels. The sophisticated squirrels taught my sisters, and I lessons about putting thank you therapy into practice.
The talking squirrels’ well-mannered conversation would carry on like this: “You first,” the oldest would say, inviting his brother to step out onto the tree limb before him. “No, I insist, you first.” The youngest would retort. “After you, please.” The oldest asserted. The dialogue went on until finally one would take the step, accept the invitation, leading to another exchange. “Thank you,” the oldest said. “No, thank YOU,” responded the younger. And such would their generous words carry on and on until my sisters and I would laugh ourselves off the seat of the couch.
We looked forward to the weekly display of effervescent and effusive manners. The sophisticated squirrels made thanking someone and giving thanks for things seem effortless. After about four weeks of our funny bones nearly breaking, a strange thing happened. We began to imitate the overly polite squirrels. After either one or both of my sisters helped me with a chore I would say, “Thank you.” Their responses would be “No, thank YOU.” I would respond in a perfectly poised manner; my sisters would go overboard with “Thank you ever so much.” I would retort, “No, thank YOU.” And on and on, until we became so proficient at parroting the squirrels’ manners, we didn’t give our etiquette a second thought. It became second nature. It’s amazing how much my sisters and my productivity and our good deeds increased when we had an attitude of gratitude. The same is true with our relationship with God. Let’s stop today and apply a little “thank you” therapy.
- Thank God we can call on His name.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
- Thank God we can sing to Him.
“I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks.” Nehemiah 12:31
- Thank God, we can praise Him.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
- Thank God, we can praise Him for triumph over sin.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
- Thank God, He guides us.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
- Thank God, we can thank Him in every circumstance.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Thank God for thank you therapy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
The sophisticated squirrel cartoons are a fond memory I hope to someday share with my grandchildren. And now, my sisters and I have our own homes, where we each practice submission to God, we love and honor our families by offering gratitude and service. This Thanksgiving weekend, we will choose to intentionally practice “Thank you therapy.” Thank you therapy happens when we intently search out and notice small things and thank God. Thank you therapy happens when we anticipate with expectation blessings for which we can thank God. The result of thank you therapy is a life of thanks-living. Let’s choose thankfulness!
Dear Heavenly Father, you are the God of creation, our provider, our Lord, our friend. Help us use a thankful spirit as we lift up thankful hearts to you. Thank you for the trials and triumphs, struggles and joys. We praise you and bless you in Jesus’ Name, Amen.