Today I thanked the colleague who held the office door open for me. I also thanked the coworker who agreed to do a small task for me. And I thanked the gentleman who stepped off the narrow walking trail to give me the right-of-way.
The words “thank you” come so easily in these simple social exchanges. But somehow as the interactions deepen, outward appreciation seems to slacken. “Thank you” is woefully less spontaneous in my exchanges with God than with the stranger on the street.
For example, I didn’t say thank you this morning when God turned the sunlight on for me. I may have even grumbled a bit as I crawled out of bed.
I didn’t say thank you when he offered me a selection of fine attire from which to choose. I might have even wished for something else.
I didn’t say thank you when he gave me a ride to work. I was too busy thinking about other things.
Common courtesy seems to come easier when I am interacting with other people than when I am interacting with the One who is behind all other mercies. I wonder how much different my day would be if my eyes could be opened like those of Elisha’s servant to the presence of God around me (2 Kings 6:17).
If I heard God call the sunlight into being I might applaud. If I watched God’s hands and feet working to make the clothes hanging in my closet, I might say thank you. If God himself handed me my car keys every morning, I would ask him to come along and talk with me during our commute.
God is present in every daily occurrence. In the same way that a simple thank you rolls of my tongue when interacting with those around me, I can cultivate a common courtesy toward God. Maybe my eyes will never be supernaturally opened to see a host of angels standing guard, but I can still know that God’s presence is real. I can learn to show appreciation for His gifts and interactions in the same way I have learned to show appreciation to others.
To begin, a simple thank you will suffice.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org.