How Being Thankful For Little Things Makes a Big Difference

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

On Sunday, at our church “brunch,” I had a 10-second conversation that taught me a lesson for a lifetime. I drink hot tea at these meals. So, the water was boiling and my spiced-tea bag, which I had supplied, was in my cup ready to be steeped. Martha came to the table and pointed out that she had brought some tea bags – Earl Grey and English Breakfast – for everyone to have. I said, “I brought this spiced tea. So, that’s what I’m drinking today.” She responded, “I don’t really like spiced tea so I brought these.” That’s was it. End of conversation.

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I started thinking later, “What if I’d responded in thankfulness?” What if, instead of pitting my tea against her tea, I had said, “Thank you for bringing the tea bags. I enjoy those flavors, too.” What a big difference a little “Thank you” would have made. We might have had a little conversation about tea, where she purchased the bags, or why she liked those flavors. But, no. I had to make it about my tea vs. her tea. Silly really. But I realized (again!) that I need to develop a thankful heart.

Words of thanks bring about harmony and peace rather than argument and conflict.

I think now about how many conflicts could have been avoided if I’d simply said “Thank you.” “Thank you for the work you’re doing” instead of focusing on the mistakes. “Thank you for reminding me to slow down” instead of getting upset at the pokey driver. “Thank you for your concern” instead of being irritated by all the questions.

Developing a heart of thankfulness comes from practicing the words “Thank you” over and over again. Do we really know the importance of these two little words?

According to Amy Morin, psychotherapist and best-selling author, gratitude is good for many reasons, two of which are:

  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.

For her full article, click here.

It’s good to know about these benefits. It would have helped my conversation with Martha. But even more, I want an authentically thankful heart so that “Thank you” would simply roll off my tongue continually. This brief exchange was a reminder to keep at it – to keep saying “Thank you,” even for the smallest things, until my heart becomes thankful.

“In everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5.18).  Will you join me?

Where do you see the need in your own life to develop thankfulness? Share below.

Dr. K