Spiritual Manners

Why does it so often seem that when blessings abound our immediate reaction is not to thank our Giver?


As children, we’re taught proper manners and etiquette. As we pass someone on the street, we nod and smile. Someone holds the door open for us, so we say “thank you.” We order a drink, and we slip in a “please.” We meet someone new, so we shake hands.


It’s basic human principles. We’ve been trained to behave in such a way for so long that we often don’t even think about what we’re saying or doing. These actions have become automatic.


Until, something bigger happens.


We see an old friend, and we run to them with a huge smile and swaddle them up in a bear hug. We receive a gift so meaningful from our parents that we can barely whisper “thank you.” We try to put a fussy  child to rest for hours and murmur “please” again and again as we rock them in our arms. We meet our potential-next-boss and skim wikiHow articles with the heading “The Key to a Good Handshake.”


Lately, I can’t help but to realize that our worldly habits affect our spiritual practice.


Time and time again, I have fallen into the routine of giving thanks for my food without truly being grateful. I’ve rambled off the liturgy and the Creeds in worship services while planning out the rest of my day in my head. I’ve gone to the Lord’s Supper and haven’t properly prepared to meet with my King.


My thanksgiving has become automatic. It’s routine. It’s habitual. It’s thoughtless. It’s careless.


And yet, even when God dumps a huge blessing directly in front of my face, I still don’t immediately thank the Giver. I bask in the glory of the material blessings of this world and therefore forfeit the opportunity to glorify the Giver.



Over the past six weeks, I have lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s cliche to say, but it has been the experience of a lifetime.


I’ve learned the history; I’ve been dumbfounded viewing magnificent art pieces; I’ve tasted delectable food; I’ve communicated with strangers and teachers  in Spanish; I’ve become a city girl with a city life; I’ve made once-in-a-lifetime friends.

Today, I’m landing back home in Colorado. It physically hurt to say adios to Argentina, but it’s so comforting and exciting to go home to loved ones. I absolutely cannot wait to share stories, pictures, and memories with friends and family.  As I hop from plane to plane and airport to airport, all I can think about are the countless adventures I had over the last forty days.



But, in re-living some of the most fun and unforgettable moments of my life, I realized how few times I thanked God for blessing me with such a treasure of a trip.


How come we can’t stop saying thank you to the parent who secretly pays off this month’s car loan, yet when our heavenly Father quietly piles on the blessings we don’t run to him shouting his beyond-deserved praise and singing thanksgiving?

How come we are so quick to thank the people and things of this world, but so much slower to express gratitude to the Source of it all?


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.
— James 1:17


And yet, ever the faithful Father, even though I am so rude and self-centered as to not express my thanks to my God, my Creator, my Savior, He continues to bless me and care for me. He never gives up on me. He spoils me with worldly joys and blessings. So much more, He has marked me with his Son, the best gift I will ever receive.  


And if that doesn’t make you want to shout out thanksgivings from the mountaintops, what will?


So, the next time something good happens, big or small, expected or not, take a moment to say thanks to God, the Giver of all blessings.


The next time you’re downtrodden or distraught, take a moment to reflect on the blessings your Father has already given you and the way He will use these difficult moments to bless you, His child.


I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
— Psalm 34:1


And I’ll bet you the more you thank Him, the more meaningful, valuable, and treasured the blessings He so generously grants  will seem.

Let Your Crown Shine Today.
Rev. 3:11