Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“You’re Welcome”

that's me... in the middle
As previously mentioned,  I’ve been married to a spectacular lady, now for 28 years.  Over the summer I had the opportunity to do a good deal of work at her mother’s townhome.  I painted the finished basement, changed some light fixtures, and did quite a bit of carpentry work to add features that she wanted.  (Other sons-in-law helped out, too!)  During the course of my work she would say, “how can I thank you?”  I paused one day and said to her, “Please understand.  I am saying ‘thank you’ to you.  I’m saying thank you for allowing me to marry your daughter.  I’m saying thank you for bringing me into your family.  I’m saying thank you for being a wonderful mother-in-law and grandmother.  I’m the one saying THANK YOU.  You should just say ‘you’re welcome’.”

Saying “thank you” is a social courtesy.  Have you ever thought about what the response, “you’re welcome”, really means?  An acquaintance of mine who runs a fantastic etymology site describes a "welcome guest" as "one whose coming is in accord with another's will".  In other words, if I express my will and send you an invitation, when you arrive I will say “Welcome” – you have come at my will.  (Notice that German keeps the ‘i’ – willkommen). 

At Thanksgiving time, followers of Jesus celebrate living in this world by God’s grace.  We attribute the good things that come our way as blessings from God.  When blessings are short and troubles seem great, followers of Jesus cling to God for grace to endure our troubles.  Let’s get a word from our Sponsor:
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
God extends an invitation to every human – “Believe in Me”.  When we come to God in faith, we are always “welcome”.  Saying “Thank You” to God means we accepted His invitation and recognize the benefit of coming to Him.  And what a benefit that is!  Another word from our Sponsor:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
me... on the, uh, left
Thanksgiving is a spectacular season.  In this harvest time, we celebrate the bounty of a blessed earth.  Thanksgiving tables brim with food, “just put the pies over there, there’s no more room here”.  Decorations in many homes in America will honor or reference the pilgrims who first came to this great land to pursue God with all their hearts.  Their survival, and our current freedoms, depended on coming well to God, in faith.  This Thanksgiving when you say grace over the bounty before you and the loving family and friends surrounding you, when you’ve said “Amen”, stop for a moment and listen.  Followers of Jesus will likely hear a spiritual reply, “You’re Welcome”.

Clark H Smith

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