‘I thank my God every time I remember you’ (Philippians 1 v 3)
A professor called William Stidger taught at a well-known university. He reflected on the great number of unthanked people in his life. He remembered those who had nurtured, inspired or cared for him enough to leave a lasting impression on him. One was a school teacher that he’d not heard of in many years, but he remembered that she had gone out of her way to instil a love of verse in him. As a result he had loved poetry all his life. He traced her and wrote her a letter of thanks.
The reply he received included these words....
‘I cannot tell you how much your letter meant to me I’m in my eighties now, I live alone and find myself to be quite lonely. I was a teacher for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation that I’ve received. It has cheered me as nothing has done for many years.’
We all have unthanked people from our past and probably most of us have unthanked people in our present too. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said that kind words are short and easy to speak and yet their echoes are truly endless.
Who are the people that we can speak or write to today to thank the for their influence on our lives?
‘Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’
John chapter15 verse 13.
During the war, whilst that infamous bridge known as ‘the bridge on the River Kwai’ was being built, the prisoners of war were under tremendous pressure. The Japanese were not kind to their prisoners and worked and starved them until they were literally skin and bone, and many died as a result.
One day a contingent of prisoners came in from their afternoon’s work. They put their shovels in the storeroom and stood to attention as the Japanese officer addressed them. A Japanese soldier informed the officer that one shovel was missing and the officer threatened to shoot every every prisoner if no-one accounted for the missing implement. He loaded his rifle and took aim. Suddenly a man stood two steps forward, stood to attention and said ‘I did it’. The officer was so angry that he beat the man to death. He was still lying there when the soldier came running out of the storeroom and apologised to the officer. There had been a miscount, he said, and all the shovels were accounted for. One man died for his friends.
Jesus took two steps forward for you and me. Totally innocent, he laid down his life so that we could live forever. All we have to do is to accept his gift, repenting of our sins and thanking him for his incredible love for us.
You can find previous Thoughts For The Day here
© 2018 United Benefice of St Gerrans with St Anthony in Roseland and St Philleigh.