Thankful or Thankless

27 03 2016

As most already know I’ll be retiring soon from my job. A friend told me I would be missed Rock _nbecause of my positive attitude. Flattered, I thanked him, but also owned up that it hadn’t always been that way.  It was some years before I came to see my job, the place I worked and especially the other people who worked there as a blessing. He then proceeded to tell the story of his dad and his dad’s pal.

They both worked for the city where my friend lived as child. Their jobs consisted of street cleaning and repair, picking up trash, keeping the local parks neat, setting up and tearing down for special events held in the town, and giving new coats of paint to everything that needed spruced up in the community. His dad was well thought of and people would often stop and talk for a moment when they saw him. “They liked my dad because he always had a pleasant word for everyone no matter what. We didn’t have a lot of money, but folks were always giving him things like lawn furniture and items for the house that dad would take and fix up like new.  Every summer he would take our family on a nice vacation to places like the ocean, Niagara Falls, and even the Grand Canyon. He would pick up odd jobs through the year or work an extra shift on the garbage truck, anything to bring in money so we’d have a nice trip.”

His dad’s friend, on the other hand, was always in a bad mood. He’d yell at people for making his job harder so most would avoid him. His dad would try to get him to be nicer to folks but he would answer, “Why should I? All they do is make my life hell around here!”  He told me how his father would come home as soon as he wasn’t working, but his pal would head straight to the bar. “Said he had to ‘throw back a few’ before he got home or his wife and kids would drive him crazy, but I knew his kids.  They were terrified of him when he was home because of his terrible temper, even worse after he had been drinking.  They were like us and didn’t have much so dad would offer to share some of his side jobs with him, but he’d have no part of that.  What’s all that extra going to do for you when you work yourself into an early grave; no thanks!” He’d say. I began to get a mental picture of two totally different individuals, one that saw nothing good, and the other who was thankful for everything.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” –   William Arthur Ward

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” –  H. U. Westermayer

I told my friend, “I’d considered it an honor to meet your dad someday.” But the look in his eye and the lowering of the head told me that wasn’t to be. “Dad was so proud when I went off the college. During my junior year mom called to say they believed he had a massive heart attack during the night and never woke up.” He went on to describe how hundreds turned out for the viewing telling the family how much they liked dad and how he going to be missed dearly. Even his disillusioned friend made an appearance. “Well I’m sorry for your loss,” he said, “but I always knew your old man would someday work himself into grave. Pity you weren’t even here to tell him goodbye.” “Whoa!” I said, “It must have taken a lot of self control on your part not to put a knot on his head.” My friend gently smiled and answered, “No, no need to; that just showed how much he didn’t know about dad.  My father was very strong in his faith believing one day he would be with Jesus, and he taught that to us kids. I may not have been here to say goodbye, but I know when I get to heaven he’ll be there waiting on me. Knowing that, I have peace that dad’s where he’d want to be.”  Then with a chuckle, “Probably wondering around heaven right now hunting for something to fix or paint!”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 100:4 – “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

Here was a Traveler of the Rock Road that knew the importance of being thankful in all situations, for he saw everything as a gift from God. I wonder how much the “gripe meter” would be lowered if we all took that attitude; just a thought.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Works for me!
See ya next time


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