There’s a story that is legend in our family about saying thank-you. One of our children was on crutches for the first time in elementary school. The school had several buildings, and you needed to exit one to get to another. As the class moved from their room to PE and back, or lunch and back there were many door openings to navigate. This child, on crutches, needed assistance with the doors and with a lunch tray. Easy things were no longer quite as simple. At the end of the day I asked “So, how did it go on crutches today?” The reply: “Mom, today when I said ‘thank-you’ I meant it.”
When was the last time you said “thank-you” and meant it?
Looking around the church there are many reasons to say thank-you. For grass mown, new windows installed, clean carpets, mopped floors, a tidied-up kitchen – even our coffee on Sunday mornings we say “thank-you!” For all the faithful church members who, with their giving, gave us this beautiful space and building – we say “thank you!” For those who bring food for the food bank, who visit shut-ins, who send a card to someone who is grieving – we say “thank you!” For those who invite a friend to Sunday worship, who offer to pray for a neighbor in need, who surround a family in crisis with their support – we say “thank-you!” And for each of these thanksgivings we can and do give thanks to God for making this possible.
We often give thanks after receiving a gift. Have you ever given thanks in advance? I’m sure you have – we all do. Thanks in advance for picking up the groceries. Thanks in advance for driving carpool this morning. Thanks in advance for helping with the fundraiser. But have you ever said “Thanks in advance” in your prayers? What might that look like? Thanks in advance for guiding me through this day. Thanks in advance for hearing my prayers. Thanks in advance for putting people in my path today whom I can pray for and support.
In order to say “Thanks in advance” we need to know something about the person we are thanking. Is that person likely to do what we think they will do? If not, our thanks in
advance is little more than a passive request to do the thing we want them to do. If they are already committed and will do this regardless of our thanks, then a thanks in advance is truly thanksgiving. Saying “Thanks in advance” is a statement of trust.
As we begin our summer together, I want to say thanks in advance to God for all that God will do in and with our congregation in the months to come. For the people who will
discover us for the first time, for the lessons we will learn together from the Bible, for times of fellowship that will deepen friendships, for messages that will challenge us to grow in new ways, for new opportunities for mission - thanks in advance, God! We know we can trust that you will continue to guide and challenge us in the months ahead, and for this we give thanks (and we mean it!).