Saying thank you is a tricky thing. For some strange reason, we humans are not very good at doing it. This was certainly illustrated by the ten lepers that Jesus healed when only one returned to thank him. The interesting thing about that story is that the one who returned was a Samaritan and considered a foreigner. Maybe he was simply a real life example of the concept that Jesus taught later – the one who is forgiven the most is also the most grateful. In some way, he may have felt the least deserving of being healed.
The older I get the more I realize how much I can grow in this area myself. Just thinking about a typical day in my life gives me great pause to realize how good God has been to me and how He has used other people to impact my life for the good. I have been an ungrateful leper for too long and need to start remembering to thank people on a more regular basis. With that in mind, here are some of the people that deserve the most thanks right now:
My Parents – Bill and Marge Almack: these two saints (parenting me automatically qualifies them) put up with me at my worst as a teenager and loved me unconditionally. They saw a scrawny, precocious child who could not stop asking why and took the time to answer my questions. They always pointed me to Jesus and helped me to see why their work mattered so much. Instead of trying to contain my energy and enthusiasm, they helped to channel it into productive pursuits. As an adult they became mentors and role models and are still some of my closest confidants.
My Siblings – as the oldest of four children, I had a head start in trying my parent’s patience. My brother may have noticed this and took a different approach. If only I had followed his example a little more carefully. As missionary kids, we had a wonderful childhood that included lots of playing together and mischief. There were many pillow fights, puppet shows that we created and games that we invented. My siblings taught me so much about enjoying life no matter what the circumstances or what resources we had. I will never forget the fort we built out of cardboard boxes, suitcases and blankets. Most of all I am grateful that each one accepted Jesus as their personal savior and now are examples to me of growing in grace as they parent their own children.
My Wife and two boys – it is certainly true that we often neglect to thank those that we spend the most time with. Maybe we think it isn’t necessary or it is obvious how much we appreciate them. Putting up with me for twenty five years puts Deb into some special category for sainthood, possibly even a little higher than my parents as she has had to deal with me longer. I do not know anyone who can listen to me as well as she does and still find humor in the things that I have to say. Her tenacity and faith have blessed me more than she will ever know. My two boys are now young adults and have stretched me in ways that I did not think were possible. Being their Dad has been one of the greatest joys of my life and continues to be a journey of faith and endurance that I treasure.
My CLC Colleagues all over the world – getting to travel to eighteen countries so far in my lifetime has given me a unique insight into this wonderful group of people with whom I get to do ministry. Without fail they are united by a commitment to the gospel and to the purposes of making evangelical Christian literature available to all nations. What has blessed me more than anything is the family atmosphere that has been fostered in country after country that I have visited. No matter where I go, I am a part of the CLC family and know that we serve shoulder to shoulder even if we are oceans apart on a daily basis. When we gather to worship it is like a family reunion in heaven and a “foretaste of glory divine”.
There are many others that I should thank – friends, CLC authors, pastors, advisors, etc., but I will save that for a future post. It is a wonderful thing to have so many people to thank that words fail you. That said, each new day gives me one more opportunity to express the gratitude that I feel to the people that deserve it the most.