OK, grammar rules would dictate the title of this post should be, “For whom are you thankful?” But if the worst thing I do today is finish off a sentence with a preposition, it’s a pretty decent day. Since this is being posted on Thanksgiving Day, most folks will have better things to do than to read other people’s blogs (at least I hope so!) So, it seemed good to write something applicable for other days as well.
While we’re feeling thankful for various blessings in our lives, like a warm and safe place to live, food and clothing – right at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, along with loved ones, a job and means for getting to that job, there are other things for which to give thanks.
Perhaps it’s not just “what” to be thankful for, but also “who” (or whom, for grammatical sticklers).
Who are those folks that have had the greatest impact on your life? Those who’ve had a hand in shaping the person you are today?
Starting off, I obviously would cite my parents, my wife, children and grandchildren. But they’re just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Teachers have had important roles in my life: my fourth-grade teacher who instilled in me a vision for attending college; my freshman English instructor in college who encouraged me to write; and my first journalism prof as I began learning the craft of news writing. My uncle Joe, who lovingly kicked my tail when I was a spoiled teenager and taught me about hard work and perseverance.
A number of pastors have influenced me in various ways. Some showed that clergymen are normal, approachable human beings. Others taught how to deep-dive into the Scriptures, not only for intellectual understanding but also for practical truths and principles to survive this marathon called everyday life.
Vocationally, I’ve appreciated bosses who gave me opportunities, recognized the potential in me (one even called me “a diamond in the rough”), challenged me to fulfill it, and demonstrated what leadership should look like. I’m also thankful for many of my coworkers whose passion mirrored mine and whose skills complemented my own. Together we demonstrated the truth of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Often, working together on projects, we saw the reality of the adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Although I never had one specific mentor, numerous men have had profound impacts of my life, not only in teaching me biblical truth and showing how it relates to real life, but also demonstrating what it looks like to live out one’s faith in a genuine, consistent manner.
Thankfulness, as we would expect, can be found throughout the Scriptures. One example is how much relationships meant for the apostle Paul. Many times, in his letters to both individuals and groups of believers, he expressed how thankful he was for them. To the church in Philippi he wrote, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).
Paul expressed the same sentiments to believers in the Greek city of Thessalonica, writing, “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).
To Timothy, one of the men whom he had discipled during his travels, Paul wrote, “I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers” (2 Timothy 1:3). How encouraging those words must have been to that young pastor as he sought to serve and minister to those God had brought into his life.
I wonder, whether it’s on Thanksgiving Day or any other day of the year, who are you thankful for? Do they know how they have meant to you? If not, don’t you think it would be a good idea to let them know?
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at email@example.com.