What if?

David Epps's picture

A few days ago, a gentleman who is a leader in our church, Richard Thompson, came to the church office.

He dropped off something for someone in our congregation and then, after some conversation, he shared that he had seen an interesting question on a sign somewhere.

The question was: “What if, when you woke up tomorrow, the only things you had in your life were those things for which you gave thanks on the previous day?”

I have to confess, it was a question that caught me off guard and led to some serious pondering.

As I thought back over the previous day, which happened to be my day off, I couldn’t remember giving thanks for very much. It wasn’t that I am not grateful or unthankful ... I guess that I simply take things for granted.

Here’s a short list of what I did NOT give thanks for on the previous day: my home, my job, my family, my freedom, my country, my health, my friends, or my vehicles which are in fine operating condition.

Likewise, I didn’t give thanks for my eyesight, my hearing, my ability to speak, or to think, or to reason.

I didn’t give thanks for the ability to feel deeply, or to care, or to love. Sadly, I realized that I didn’t give thanks for the food I ate, or the air I breathed, or the water I drank.

Neither did I give thanks for the forgiveness I have received, the mercy I have experienced, or the grace that has been extended to me. I didn’t give thanks for the memories I have of, and that I made with, my grandparents, or my dad and my mom.

I didn’t give thanks for the teachers that taught me, the men that coached me, the drill instructors that molded me, the preachers that helped to raise me, or even the people around me that add so much to my existence. I didn’t give thanks for my friends, my co-workers, my colleagues, and others with whom I share life.

The longer I pondered, the longer the list grew. It’s not that I am not thankful — it’s that I am neglectful. On that previous day, I neglected to be thankful for, well, for anything.

“What if, when you woke up tomorrow, the only things you had in your life were those things for which you gave thanks on the previous day?”

If that had occurred, I would have had ... almost nothing.

I certainly can’t blame anyone for my neglect. Not my parents, not an entitlement society, and certainly not my raising. I know to be thankful. But I wasn’t. Not on that previous day and, I fear, not on many other days in my life.

It’s like the question was a traffic sign to me on the road of life. Some signs, if ignored, can lead to heartache and ruin. I have run a few stop signs and red lights in my life and, for the most part, I have been lucky. The signs are there for a reason.

“What if, when you woke up tomorrow, the only things you had in your life were those things for which you gave thanks on the previous day?”

I made a list of those things for which I did not give thanks. That same list has become my list from which I can now faithfully give thanks so that all of the “todays” and all of the “tomorrows” will be better.

Whatever kind of day this day will be, it is still a good day to give thanks.

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]