"Let's go over the list once more," I muttered to myself at the check-out stand. "Oatmeal, frying chickens, and a half gallon of rocky road. Yuban coffee and a couple loaves of Roman Meal bread. A gallon of milk about rounds it out." The register whirrs. I plunk down my money. "Thanks," I say to the checker.
"Don't thank me," the grocery checker chuckles. "You pays your money, you takes your choice."
No thanks needed? Your forefathers' hands caressed hard seed grains as they sowed freshly-turned furrows. They knew whom to thank.
"A man scatters seed on the ground," Jesus observed. "Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)
No wonder Pilgrims gave thanks.
But the average person lives too far from the soil to awe at amber waves of grain. I had glanced at my watch and tapped my foot while the checker worked slowly through the loaded grocery cart ahead of me. So what's to be thankful for? Shorter lines?
Yes, for starters. Women stand in lines for hours in Moscow to buy fresh fruit. The selection on our supermarket shelves would boggle the mind of a Mexican villager.
We thank God for a job to pay for our food--thousands are out of work. We thank God for a warm home and a table to eat at - the homeless live out of their cars or from under a bridge.
"But I work hard for what I have," you object. Yes, so does the Chinese peasant bending over in a cold rice paddy.
You pays your money, but you can't buy health. You pays your money, but you can't buy family. You pays your money, but you can't buy rain to water crops in Peoria and Des Moines.
Thank you God, for the gifts you've given which I have no inherent right to. Make me genuinely grateful. Amen .