Written by Cara Shonamon
Musings of a Ministering Mother
Jimmy is husband to Emily. A few years ago, Jimmy cheated on his wife. By Jimmy’s own admission, their marriage was headed for divorce until Jimmy and Emily embarked on the hard journey of rebuilding their relationship and trust.
Jimmy now creates online videos to communicate with other husbands. Sometimes they are satirical; other times they are serious. He is a man of faith who wants to help others strengthen their marriages.
One of his videos is about the need for spouses to appreciate and thank one another. He mentions that in relationships we often have expectations for one another. He goes on to say that in doing this, we may come to take each other for granted because we automatically expect such tasks to be done.
He concludes by saying we have an option—we can create an atmosphere of love and appreciation, characterized by each person looking for ways to thank and praise the other, or we can take them for granted and miss opportunities to strengthen our relationship.
My amazing husband wakes up early every morning to make breakfast for our family. It usually consists of farm-fresh eggs, some sort of meat, and fresh fruit. This is something I have put in my “expected” category because it happens every day. I was reminded through Jimmy’s videos about the importance of daily expressing my gratitude to Justin for his gift to us.
While reflecting on this video I thought about my relationship with Justin and about humanity’s relationship with God. Adam and Eve had the opportunity to walk and talk daily in the very presence of God. What an amazing blessing. However, it is evident they took their relationship with God for granted. Perhaps this helped make them susceptible to the deceit of the serpent who persuaded them to mistrust God and believe he was holding out on them.
We know the rest of the story, and it does not end well for Adam and Eve. They are cut off from the rich, trusting relationship they had once enjoyed, and their world is changed—for the worse.
I find myself easily falling into the trap of not thanking God enough. God is amazing and does not demand my thanks and praise, but I should do it often, simply because I love him. I confess I have often put things in the “expected” category with God.
The Scriptures are filled with expressions of gratitude to God. Perhaps the epitome of these is found in Psalm 145. It is an acrostic where every verse begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet—each verse praising God. The people of Israel would recite it three times a day. In a sense, the Psalmist, as Adele Berlin said, “praises God with everything from A to Z.” Such continuing expressions of gratitude diminish the chance of taking God for granted.
My question for us is: “Have we put the work of God in our life in the 'expected' category?” I don’t know about you, but that question hits me hard. I want to grow in my love and appreciation of the goodness of God.
I think reading Psalm 145 three times a day isn’t a bad place to start. If you want to join me, please do. Let’s be a people who are known for regularly thanking God, and never take him for granted.
Rev. Cara Shonamon is co-lead pastor of Shawnee, Kansas, Church of the Nazarene.