BILLY GRAHAM

Teach your children an ‘attitude of gratitude’

Updated: 2013-12-29T23:57:48Z

By BILLY GRAHAM

Tribune Media Services

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You’ll probably laugh at this, but one of my biggest problems after Christmas is getting our children to write thank-you notes. Our oldest says he doesn’t see any reason for it because the Bible doesn’t say anything about thank you notes. I’ve told him to do it anyway, but can you settle this for us? — J.M.

DEAR J.M.: Saying “thank you” to someone for a gift they’ve given us isn’t just a matter of common courtesy, but it’s an expression of gratitude for their generosity. To fail to thank them not only shows thoughtlessness on our part, but expresses a self-centered attitude also — and that is a sin.

One of the best examples of a “thank you note” in the Bible is the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi. Although they weren’t wealthy, they sacrificially helped Paul during a time of great financial need on his part (caused by his imprisonment for his faith). In response, he wrote to thank them for their generosity, and to encourage them in their faith. He wrote, “It was good of you to share in my troubles. … I am amply supplied, now that I have received … the gifts you sent” (Philippians 4:14,18).

Repeatedly the Bible encourages us to have “an attitude of gratitude” — both toward God, and toward others. Admittedly it isn’t always easy to get this across to our children, but it’s important to make the effort. Otherwise they may grow up unconcerned about others and ungrateful toward God. How would they feel if no one showed appreciation for a gift they’ve given?

Yes, encourage your children to thank others for their gifts. But most of all encourage them — both by your words and your example — to thank God for the greatest gift of all: the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.

© Tribune Media Services 12/30

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