Behind the Thanks

It seemed rather timely, and hopefully not too cliché, with Thanksgiving approaching this week to write a post in regard to the holiday. I know many families have the tradition of stating what they are thankful for prior to eating dinner. It’s a beautiful tradition and one that I applaud. And while it’s true that we need reminders throughout the year to be thankful for what we have, allow me to remind you to also give thanks to people. With that being said, I’m addressing this post to those who will receive the thanks.

I’m thinking about the ER nurse working a twelve-hour shift, the police officer running toward the sound of gunshots, the college student making a decaf sugar free double soy no whip extra foam caramel macchiato, the librarian shopping for a program on her own time, the teacher grading papers on his lunch hour, the stay-at-home mother juggling laundry, dinner, and her kids’ extracurricular activities, the power company worker who restores the electricity in the middle of a snow storm, the soldier Skyping his wife and kids. With the exception of the stay-at-home mom, all these people work in positions for which they get paid. But this post is not a debate on stay-at-home moms versus moms who work outside the home.

What unifies these people, and many others like them, isn’t whether or not they make money or how much they make. In their own way, each one is a worthy worker. Look closer and you’ll see what makes every one of these people the same is that they are in positions to serve others. It’s a simple lesson to learn, and some come to it faster than others, but the greatest thing anyone will ever do is serve another person.

In today’s society where entitlement reigns supreme, it’s easy to become jaded to the point that one is tempted to set aside his or her integrity and believe that he or she isn’t earning enough money to make what they do worthwhile. To those who are serving in whatever capacity, whether great or small, I give my wholehearted thanks. I ask that you remember why you started serving in the first place, to understand that your job may be thankless but will never be purposeless, to do the right thing even when no one is looking, to not measure your ability to serve successfully by the amount of a paycheck, to rest confident in the reward that is a job well done, and to keep serving when all others have given up.

Examine the act of service a little deeper, and you’ll find a concept that is rapidly disappearing from our society: sacrifice. To give something up willingly for the sake of others is the true definition of service. In fact, I don’t believe you can serve another without a measure of sacrifice involved. So, stay strong. It’s hard, I know, but you are being seen for what you do. True, you may never know, but your selfless service will not go unrewarded.

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

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