One of the things that I am most grateful for, in my life, is my education. I absolutely love to read and I love to learn. I realize that you can learn things in many different ways, and for many people school is not always the right decision, but for me it was. I loved being a part of a community of learners. I enjoyed having great conversations with students and professors as well as the great authors from across history. I received an education that prepared me to be a leader in the world.
I had always dreamed of going to a good college and going on to Seminary to receive a degree in theology. My dream was made possible by gracious gifts from many people, some that I knew and others that I did not. One of the largest gifts that made my college education possible was a scholarship from the university that my mother works at. This was a piece of my mother’s benefits package that she received after working at the university for many years. I am incredibly grateful that my mom stayed in her job at the university long enough to allow us to have this benefit so a large portion of our school tuition would be covered every year.
Another gift that made my education possible, was a Presidential scholarship from Luther Seminary that covered all of my tuition as well as a small stipend. I still remember opening the financial aid letter and being overwhelmed by the generosity of the offer. I could now go to Seminary without fear of the mountains of debt that might accompany it. My dream of getting a theological education could become a reality!
We all have something to be grateful for, but we don’t always remember to say thank you. We have to be intentional about giving thanks, not just one day a year but all year-round. One way that we can say “thank you” is by writing a thank you note or simply taking the time to tell someone “thank you”. It is all too easy to let the moment pass you by and forget to thank the people who helped your dreams become a reality. It is never too late to say thanks.
Another way that we can say “thank you” is by living frugally. By living frugally, we honor the gifts that we receive by spending them wisely. We don’t use them to be cheap towards others or ourselves, but to be smart about what we need and what we don’t and to invest in what matters. We value the time, effort and love that went into the gifts that we have received and choose to use them to their fullest.
A last way that we can say “thank you” is by following the example of generosity. Now that I am out of school, I haven’t forgotten the generosity that got me where I am today. I give to the institutions that I graduated from so that I can make dreams a reality for other students who were just like me. I give as a way to say thank you for all of the people who believed in me and trusted me with their hard-earned money. While I may not be able to give very much at this point in my career, I hope to grow my gifts to be able to fund a scholarship for someone else. I honor the gifts that I have received by passing that gift on to others.
I challenge you to take some time over the course of the month of November to consider the people, places and gifts that you are really grateful for and take the time to say thank you.
Join the Conversation: Who/what are you grateful for?