即使你不覺得需要感謝,仍然說聲「謝謝」

By:Robert J. Tamasy

這個星期全美都在慶祝感恩節,其他的國家或文化裡也有類似的節日。對很多人來說這是一個數算恩典的時刻,數算他們在過去一年裡所經歷的美好事物。感恩節是一個美好的傳統,但是對承受困難和損失的人(也許你也在其中)來說,要如何能感恩呢?

你最近是否為小事感謝呢?這是我的朋友艾伯‧迪芬(Albert Diepeveen)經常掙扎的人生功課。事實上,幾年前,我協助他完成一本冊子叫做:「即使你不覺得需要感謝,仍然說聲謝謝。 “Thank You” When You Don”t Feel Thankful.」

艾柏在荷蘭出生,他和他的家人經歷了恐怖的第二次世界大戰。他和家人、朋友、鄰居就在這種連基本物資都匱乏的狀況生存了下來。因為營養缺乏,他得了肺結核,躺在醫院病床上超過三年的時間。

艾柏的肺結核後來痊癒了,但是健康上的問題一直是他生命中的夢靨。他和他的太太後來移民美國,成功地創立了幾間小型的公司。身為一個企業家,他經歷了生意上的高潮和低潮。

雖然艾柏面對許多不同的困難,但是他的生命發出許多人無法明白的喜樂和平安,因為他已經學到其中的秘訣。如同他在小冊子裡面說的:「即使你不覺得需要感謝,仍然說聲謝謝。」因為他在耶穌基督裡的信心告訴他:「萬事都互相效力叫神的人得益處。」(羅馬書8章28節)

艾柏解釋說:「我越讀聖經,越覺得神不會說謊,祂也不犯錯。神愛我們每一個人,為了我們的益處,他把各種環境帶給我們。」

艾柏說:「在我還沒有因耶穌改變之前,我上教會學校也在基督徒的家庭長大,但是我從沒在他的話裡(聖經)看到我現在所看到的。」你知道在神的話裡面有大約一萬個應許,祂說的應許你可以相信,我們都是站立在祂的應許上。

所以當艾柏發現聖經的一些特定的經文時,他明白了當我們不覺得需要感謝的時候,仍然要感謝神。艾柏說:「星期天我的牧師講到爲生命的每一個景況感謝神,因為那是他在耶穌基裡給你的旨意。當時牧師重複了爲生命的每一個景況感謝神這句話,並爲它下了註解,他說:因為神愛你,所以他不會讓無益的事臨到你。」

對艾柏來說,這是一個生命的功課。就算有疾病、經濟困境、金融危機和其他的困難,當他不覺得需要感恩時,他仍然學著說:「謝謝!」那你呢?

回應和問題討論
你是否參加感恩節的活動?或者你有個人的感恩方式,對你生命中所經歷的一切表達感謝? 當你遇到困難和問題時,你是否仍然說謝謝?對你來說,這會很難嗎? 「爲生命的每一個景況感謝神,因為那是祂在耶穌基裡給你的旨意。」這句話時是否對你有所啟發?當你讀到這些話的時候,你心裡想到什麼? 當你不感覺需要感恩的時候仍要說謝謝,要做這件事很難嗎?你是否真的相信神知道什麼對你是最好的,並且積極參與你所做的事?解釋你的答案。如果你手邊有聖經,想要知道更多與這個主題相關的經文,可以參考: 以賽亞書41章10節;耶利米書29章11-13節;詩篇23章1-6節、100章4-5節;以弗所書3章20節、5章19-20節

SAYING “THANK YOU” WHEN YOU DON”T FEEL THANKFUL
By Robert J. Tamasy

This week in the United States millions will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Similar observances take place in other countries and in cultures around the world. For many people this serves as a time to “count their blessings,” reflecting on the good things they have experienced over the past year. A wonderful tradition, no doubt, but what about those – perhaps yourself included – that have endured great hardship and loss?

How do you sincerely express thanksgiving when it seems you have little reason for feeling thankful? This is a question my longtime friend, Albert Diepeveen, has wrestled with over the course of his life. In fact, years ago I helped him with writing and producing a booklet he called, “Saying “Thank You” When You Don”t Feel Thankful.”

Born in the Netherlands, Albert and his family lived through the horrors of World War II. Food supplies were meager and, like many of their friends and neighbors, they had to survive without even the barest essentials. Largely due to malnutrition, he contracted tuberculosis, confining him to a bed for more than three years, most of those in a hospital room.

Albert overcame his struggles with tuberculosis, but health problems have lingered throughout his life. In 1958, he and his wife immigrated to the United States, where he was able to establish several successful small companies. Being an entrepreneur, he experienced firsthand the ups and downs of business.

Despite facing adversity in many forms, Albert radiates a sense of joy and peace many people cannot understand. But my friend has learned the secret, as his booklet states, of being able to say “thank you” even when you do not feel thankful. That secret, he is quick to point out, is his faith in Jesus Christ and confidence that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Let Albert explain: “As I studied the Scriptures I realized God cannot lie, and He has never made a mistake. God loves each one of us. He brings circumstances into our lives for our own benefit.”

Talking about his life before having a transforming encounter with Jesus, he says, “I had attended a Christian school and had been raised in a Christian home. But I had never seen in His Word (the Bible) what I clearly see now. Do you know that there are about 10,000 promises in God”s Word? And what He promises, you can trust in. We can all count on what it says.”

So when Albert discovered a certain passage in the Bible, he recognized the importance of being thankful to God even when he did not feel thankful: “One Sunday my pastor was speaking on a verse that says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God”s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The pastor then repeated, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” adding, “If someone loves you, he will never let anything happen to you that will not be good for you.””

For Albert, this has been the lesson of a lifetime. Despite illnesses, business setbacks, financial struggles and other hardships, he has learned to say “thank you” even when he does not feel thankful. Can you?

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress), and most recently edited When “Want To” Becomes “Have To!” by Gary Highfield. For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you take part in a special day of thanksgiving, or do you have a personal tradition for expressing gratitude for what you have experienced and received in life? Have you ever tried to say “thank you” when you do not feel thankful for the problems and issues you are facing? How difficult is that for you? When you read, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God”s will for you,” what does that say to you? What thoughts come to mind when you read that? What difference would it make – in being able to express thanks when you do not feel thankful – if you really believed God has your best interests at heart and is actively involved in doing what is truly best for you? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Psalm 23:1-6; 100:4-5; Ephesians 3:20, 5:19-20

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