Heathdale flower 09th June 2023

Giving Thanks

Uncover the power of gratitude and the importance of giving thanks and learn how it can transform your daily perspective and enrich your life.

Heathdale flower

Have you ever found yourself speechless? It’s an awkward moment. You want to express what is in your heart and mind but nothing more than a simple “ahh” or “thank you” rolls out of your mouth!

I love watching shows like Selling Houses Australia or Property Brothers, Fixer Uppers, where a team of people come and bless some deserving soul by giving their house or garden a total make over. Typically, the show’s climax is an emotionally charged moment and I am transfixed, watching how the recipients of the blessing respond.

More often than not, they are overwhelmed, tears flow and they simply repeat ‘thank you, thank you!” As we watch we know what their heart is trying to say, but we also know that ‘thank you’ in itself seems so inadequate.

Linguistic experts tell us that the English language is one of the world’s most dynamic languages. New words and phrases are being developed daily; yet it can also be a very limited language that doesn’t serve us well. Take the words ‘thank you’ for instance. It is a single phrase that is meant to convey a myriad of moments. Whereas languages such as Greek, Hebrew, Hindi and Mandarin have a number of different words for thank you that fit particular circumstances.

This was brought home to me recently when I read ‘that one of the key elements of worship is the giving of thanks.’ In the Old Testament Book of Psalms we get the sense of what the author King David is saying, but the English translation somehow doesn’t fully convey it. The Message version tries to capture this sentiment when it reads:

“But let me run loose and free, celebrating GOD's great work, every bone in my body laughing, singing, "GOD, there's no one like you.” Psalm 35:10 (The Message)

Biblical scholar, Ronald Allen reminds us that the Hebrew language has no word that can be used to simply say ‘thank you’. In Old Testament times you expressed your thanks by telling other people how good a particular person had been to you. What is more, it was customary to praise people not to their face but in front of others. This is how we got the phrase ‘to sing one’s praises’.

Similarly, praise of God was a public declaration in which He was acclaimed for His mercy and love. Worship in Old Testament times was therefore a form of witness because congregational praise of God’s greatness and grace spilled over into public testimony to Him before a listening world. In this way the wider audience was invited to join the chorus of praise raised by the family of faith.

I have heard the story of a Senior Minister in a large church who had the tradition of beginning every service by encouraging all present to give thanks to God, whether they are active in their faith or not!

His reasoning is ‘I want people to think about God’s goodness to them over the past week. He has given them air to breath, water to drink, food to eat and so many other things. So, as we count our blessings, we can join together in thanking and praising God for His goodness.’

As I reflected on this story, it made me think about how I start each day as I arrive at Heathdale Christian College. The thought of giving thanks to God for His goodness and His faithfulness to us as a community needs to shape how I enter my day. So recently as I have arrived and parked my car, before I get out, I pause and give thanks to God for the staff, the students, the parents, the facilities, the freedom to openly talk about Him in the classroom, just to mention a few things.

Can I encourage you to start each day in a similar way? As you wake up or drop the kids off or wish them farewell as they walk out the door to catch the bus, can I encourage you to thank God for the blessings He has poured out on the Heathdale community.

Let us worship and praise Him as the Lord of our community.


Ross Grace
Executive Principal