OPINION COLUMNS

Remember to be thankful

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, November 18, 2015
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Jo and I went to Governor’s Ridge recently. We sang a few hymns with the residents of this wonderful assisted living facility. Then I tried to guide their thoughts toward the topic of thankfulness.

I told them a story.

I love to take my grandkids to Dollar General. On the way to the store, we rehearse the rules:

  • When we get in the store, the children can spend up to (no more than) $3.
  • They can have more than one item, but the total cost of the items can’t be more than three bucks.
  • If anyone tries to negotiate with me for a total that’s “just a little over $3,” the deal is off.

Last Saturday, we had all four grandchildren in the house. We’re a busy bunch. It’s not often that we’re all together in one spot with a little time to kill.

I saw my opportunity to make a trip to Dollar General. They were pleased to be headed to the store.

On the way out of the driveway, I remembered a short list of grocery items I needed to purchase. I told the children that today’s destination for them would be Tractor Supply because of its proximity to the grocery store.

I put the oldest (age 11) of the four in charge of the other three. I said, “Trinity, you are in charge.” (She loves to be in charge… maybe too much.)

“You are responsible for getting the group into the store safely. You’re responsible for answering their questions. (The 3-year-old needs a little help with math.)

“It’s your job to keep them from acting crazy while they’re in the store.”

I bought my groceries and walked to Tractor Supply. I entered the store and whistled Trin’s little three-note “come here if you can hear this” call.

Almost immediately, Trinity appeared with the other three children in a row behind her. They looked like little ducks following their mama. They had their stuff. We were ready to check out.

On the way home, everything seemed right for a “teachable moment.”

I began, “I want to talk to you-all about something. It’s not so important to me right here right now, but I want to talk to you about what to do when someone does something nice for you.”

Then I was interrupted by little Reagan’s voice from the back seat.

She said, “Thank you, Granddaddy.”

Immediately, three little voices followed with, “Thank you, Granddaddy.”

Now back to Governor’s Ridge. I asked the residents what they thought about the story.

Among the observations were these:

  • Things seem out of place when we start marketing Christmas before we celebrate Thanksgiving.
  • One little voice set a tone of thankfulness for everyone.

And there was a profound question asked at Governor’s Ridge:

What if our Heavenly Father blessed us in proportion to the degree of thankfulness we express to Him for the things He has already given us?

I don’t pretend to be an expert on what God’s thinking, but I think I know He’s pleased to hear our “thank you.”

Let’s be a thankful people this Thanksgiving season. There’s no way to tell how many thank-yous might follow yours.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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