“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
We were on the top deck of a boat drinking our morning coffee. I had a pair of binoculars looking across the water at a couple of container boats and an oil tanker. The coast of Great Britain was on the horizon.
A young woman working on the ship came by to ask if we needed anything. She saw my binoculars lying on the table. I noticed her looking at them but really did not think anything about it.
Finally she worked up nerve and asked if she could look through them. I, of course, said, “Sure you can.” I showed her how to adjust the ocular width and turn the focus knob.
When she looked across the water at another boat, she actually jumped since it appeared so close. Her thrill at looking through the binoculars was so authentic, she actually laughed in her joy.
She asked me how much a pair would cost. I gave her a range according to the quality. She said she had never looked through binoculars before but wondered what it might be like.
Her name is Sonja from the country of Serbia. She was anxious to hear about America, especially Florida and Kentucky. She said there is a KFC in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Everyone, everywhere has heard of KFC.
Later on that day, Margie and I were back in our cabin and I told her, “I’d like to give the girl from Serbia my binoculars.” Margie, of course, quickly agreed and said, “That would be nice.” Actually, I think she had already thought the same thing.
Later on that day I saw Sonja again. I told her, “I would like to give you those binoculars if you would accept them.” Sometimes people are apprehensive about accepting gifts from people they do not know very well.
She smiled from ear to ear and asked, “Are you serious?” I said, “Yes, I’m serious. I talked to my wife and she agreed we should give you the binoculars.”
Tears came in her eyes and she said, “No one ever gave me anything.” I said, “I’d like to keep them until we get back to Dublin, but then I’ll find you.”
We were still three days out when I gave her the binoculars. There were more than 5,000 people on the boat and I was afraid if I waited until the last day I would not be able to find her. She thanked me at least a thousand times and again said, “This is the first time anyone ever gave me anything.” Margie said, “Give her our email address." I did and told her, “Let us know how you’re doing and where you are.”
It is common to hear “Thank you,” but how often is someone genuinely appreciative of anything?
We really wanted to do something nice for Sonja. She was such a pleasant young lady; those of such characteristics are becoming few and far between. Our intentions were good, I think, but the blessing turned out to be ours. She was so happy with the binoculars, it made us happy.
I imagine you know by now where this is going. I’m so predictable. Do we have to say thank you to Jesus for giving us eternity? Would 10,000 times a day be enough?
Sonja’s reaction said “Thank you” in a way words never could. The question at this point is, do our actions and reactions say thank you to Jesus? For me to try to describe what God expects would only end up in the form of an opinion.
So, I’ll refer to the ultimate word: His. Matthew 22: 36-39, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
God has told us in Matthew 22 what our thank you reaction must be: Love God! James 2: 17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James doesn’t change what Matthew wrote in chapter 22; he simply takes it one step further. Our works are a demonstration of our faith and an act of obedience.
Jesus gave us an assignment. He said, “Tell others about Me!” This was not a suggestion but an imperative. Nothing says, “Thank you Jesus,” more than telling someone about Him.
If we really have a heartfelt desire to show our appreciation to Jesus, our best reaction is our action. I’ve often wished the Book of Acts had been named The Book of Actions. Those actions of the Apostles set examples for us.
The key word is obedience. Study His word, the Bible, and do those things He asks us to do. That’s the thanks He desires.
The message is simple; Christ Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected. Salvation is based on belief through faith. We must always emphasize that salvation is not by what we do, but by what Jesus did. His death on the cross was completely sacrificial. His suffering and the shedding of His blood was for all mankind.