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"Tanks!"

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With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: "He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever." And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. Ezra 3:11 (NIV)

My youngest child turned 21 recently. Now he's old enough to drink, vote, go to war, buy tobacco products, rent an apartment, open a bank account, and serve on a jury. He's an adult, but he's still my baby, so we celebrated his birthday by bowling a few frames. Amidst the falling pens and growl of gutter balls, I reflected upon his early years and the wisdom of his “childlike” innocence. Here are a couple of his favorite sayings.

"Guess I'm just not lucky." Said anytime he didn’t get his way.

"Tanks."

"Tanks" is perhaps my favorite. At that young age, he appeared so excited and appreciative of everything, especially time spent with him. My boy still says thanks, but not with the same enthusiasm. Now our assistance is met with indifference, as if we’re obligated to help. And I suppose we are, for we’re his parents. But it would be nice to see a little more gratitude.

Giving "Tanks!" doesn't rate high in the socially-networked world where everyone is texting… oftentimes to the person sitting next to them. Too many of us are so “connected” we’ve become disengaged from the world around us.

Perhaps that's why I treasure a simple "thank you" card. As an acquisition’s editor, I receive dozens of cards after a writer’s conference, most from grateful writers expressing their appreciation for my willingness to help them with their book projects. For me, each card represents the currency of life: time. For time is what is required to make a difference in someone’s life. Time to listen. Time to hug. Time to look into the eyes of another and see the pain of their soul. Time and touch… something that cannot be transported electronically but only delivered in person.

In the book of Ezra, the author recalls how the people shouted with joy when workers laid the foundation of the Lord's house. Their joy wasn’t for the conclusion of the project, but its beginning. In the same way, we wept with joy at the birth of my son and the start of his journey toward God’s loving arms.

As I’ve grown older I find I seldom enthusiastically say thanks to God for all He’s done for me. The best I can muster is a hasty "thank you" scrawled in my prayer journal. But I wish I were more vocal, more animated, more "tankful" for His blessings. I should be, you know. We all should. He made His Son the cornerstone of our salvation, laying a foundation that will never crumble. As a father of two strong boys, I can't imagine the pain of His sacrifice. I’m grateful He’s God and I’m not. I’m thankful He’s allowed me these years of joy and pain with my son. And I’m humbled He would take time to meet with me each day to hear my hopes and fears and love me, selfish sinner that I am.

So today let me say: "Tanks, Lord. My boy is special. But Yours is pretty awesome, too.”

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV)

Eddie Jones © 2011, printed with permission

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