Samuel Leibowitz, a criminal lawyer, saved 78 people from the electric chair. Not one ever thanked him.

Art King helped 2,500 people find jobs through his radio program, “Job Center of the Air.” Only 10 ever thanked him.

One year, an official of the post office in charge of the dead-letter box in Washington, D.C., stated that the address received hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus but only one letter came thanking Santa for the gifts he brought.

Jesus once healed 10 men with leprosy. Only one returned to give thanks.

I stand guilty as charged. I should express my thanks more to my parents for all they’ve done for me. Now that I’m raising teenagers I realize more than ever what they went through to get me grown.

I should thank my wife more for what she does for our family. We take her for granted too often. We just expect her to fill the roles she has always filled in our home.

My church has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my calling to ministry but I don’t express my thanks enough. Are you as guilty as I?

Our City Council, County Commissioners and Board of Education work on our behalf to keep our city, county, and school system strong but rarely do we thank them for their work.

Police officers, firemen and paramedics fulfill very important functions. We expect them to be there when we call, well trained and ready for any emergency. I’m sure they could use a sincere “thank you” from us for their sacrifices.

Our soldiers leave their families behind and place their lives in harm’s way to defend the freedoms represented by Old Glory. Can we ever thank them enough? Veteran’s Day has come and gone again. Did you thank a veteran for his or her service?

School teachers take our children who are sometimes unruly and disrespectful and try to inspire them to achieve their best through the pursuit of an education. Where would our society be without their dedication?

A postal worker told me that she once received a letter of thanks from a woman on her mail route, the only one she’s ever received. Since delivering the mail is her job, most people take her hard work for granted, which is why that one letter meant enough to her that she had it framed.

I read the story recently of William Stidger, a businessman who experienced an emotional breakdown.

As a part of his recovery he was encouraged to recall someone who had been important to him and to write that person a letter of thanks.

For the first time in two decades he remembered a high school English teacher who had helped him discover a love for poetry. He wrote her a simple letter of thanks.

Three days later, by return mail, a letter came for this aging teacher. In longhand she wrote: “My eyes are blinded with tears as I write. You are the first student in all my career who has ever written me a letter to express thanks.” She continued, “I will keep it as long as I live.”

Her response encouraged him to write someone else. He wrote letter after letter. With each letter he wrote, he became stronger and stronger emotionally as he discovered the joy of expressing his love and gratitude to others.

To the Samaritan who returned to thank Jesus for his healing, Jesus asked, “Were not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17)

It’s easy for us to be in the same category as the nine cleansed leapers who were healed but did not return to give thanks.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Begin with words of thanksgiving and praise to God. Then thank those people who have touched your life in some small or very significant way. You never know whose life you are going to change. It might even be your own.

Michael Helms is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Moultrie, Ga. His column appears in The Moultrie Observer.

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