NO TAKEBACKS By Cleo Dailey III (Modernday Lazurus)

1 Thess. 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

My parents were ironclad in their belief that nothing is to be kept without a thank you. I remember days of ice cream, cake, and all of the yummy desserts that a child could love coming to an abrupt end for the omitting of two words. And I thought to myself, “How cruel to give and take it back! You are an Indian giver.”

As I am now a grown man with a better understanding of how derogatory those words are, I choose not to say them at all anymore. But for the sake of our devotional this month, I want to allow a brief reprieve. In the hallways of youthful academia, one could be heard screaming out, “You Indian giver!” This was a way of saying that a person had given you something and taken it back. We spoke these words as an indictment to a person who refused to explain why they took it back and refused to discuss it. That didn’t come up again until just this week.

Thanksgiving is usually a time of reflection and refreshing. We now live in a microwaveable society that wants to get together, eat, and prepare for Black Friday shopping. And while there is no judgment for how you choose to celebrate your holiday, I believe there is a great understanding to be derived from the concept of Thanksgiving. This is the final leg of the year. All of the good, bad, and indifferent have happened, and we are charting a finishing route for the end of the year. It’s no wonder why the time of thanksgiving comes here as opposed to in the beginning of the year. It is our time to say thank you for every great success along the way, a time to reflect on the goodness of God towards us in the year and how He has enlarged us.

It is also a time of appreciation for everything that He took away. Every time He said no, when you wanted a yes; a time to thank Him for boundary and border lines around your heart and mind, and a specific loving ability to see beyond your wants and give your needs. This time has been long overlooked for just a space of food.

But what if my parents were right? What if not saying thank you meant God reversed everything He has done for you in this year? What if He removed His hand and protection? What if He put you back in toxic relationships and walked you back into the space of pain you were in? What if God were in?

I speak in jest, as we know that God is faithful even when we are not. He never goes back on His word, and He will not reverse any blessing He bestows upon us. But the question still remains. Are you living your life in a perpetual state of gratitude, making room for more; or are you choosing to overlook the Giver to gain all the gifts? Thank you is not only a pleasantry, it is a necessity.