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Gratitude, Thankfulness

In A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rev. John R. Ramsey tells how in one church a certain person provided him with a rose boutonniere for the lapel of his suit every Sunday. At first he really appreciated it, but then it sort of became routine. Then one Sunday it became very special.

As he was leaving the Sunday service, a young boy walked up to him and said, "Sir, what are you going to do with your flower?" At first the preacher didn't know what the boy was talking about. When it sank in, he pointed to the rose on his lapel and asked the boy, "Do you mean this?"

The boy said, "Yes, sir. If you're just going to throw it away, I would like it."

The preacher smiled and told him he could have the flower and then casually asked what he was going to do with it. The boy, who was probably no more than 10 years old, looked up at the preacher and said, "Sir, I'm going to give it to my granny. My mother and father divorced last year. I was living with my mother, but she married again and wanted me to live with my father. I lived with him for a while, but he said I couldn't stay; so he sent me to live with my grandmother. She is so good to me. She cooks for me and takes care of me. She has been so good to me that I wanted to give her that pretty flower for loving me."

When the little boy finished, the preacher could hardly speak. His eyes filled with tears and he knew he had been touched by God. He reached up and unpinned the rose. With the flower in his hand, he looked at the boy and said, "Son, that is the nicest thing that I've ever heard, but you can't have this flower because it's not enough. If you'll look in front of the pulpit, you'll see a big bouquet of flowers. Different families buy them for the church each week. Please take those flowers to your granny because she deserves the very best."

Then the boy made one last statement, which Rev. Ramsey said he always will treasure. The boy said, "What a wonderful day! I asked for one flower but got a beautiful bouquet."

That's the thankful spirit. That's the gratitude attitude. It's that attitude that should guide our giving and our lives. Like that boy's granny, God has blessed us so much. God has been so good to us that giving shouldn't even be a question. It should just flow from us naturally.
 
(From A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, adapted by Billy D. Strayhorn, "The Gratitude Attitude")