by Gail Heidtke
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
My mother’s Thankoffering box had its own place of honor on the windowsill in the kitchen. It welcomed the morning light, observed the crops growing, heartened to the birds’ call, watched for the first flakes in winter. And through every season, and every circumstance, my mother would offer her thanks, putting a dime, or a quarter, or a dollar in the box. Often it was for a special concern – in thanks when her college daughter returned home after traveling, safety after a fierce storm, in thanks for a bountiful garden harvest, for occasions when extended family could be together. Sometimes an offering, a daily thanksgiving for simple things, or God’s mercies new every morning. Her offering box was a symbol of my mother’s thankful heart, her grateful spirit, her trust in God’s care.
Some journal their daily affirmations or gratitude. Others, like a friend of mine, post on social media each day one thing for which she is thankful. I love reading each day just what has stirred her heart with thankfulness. We can each learn to pay attention, to notice things and people and circumstances and to offer our thanks. And we can mark those with a gift in gratitude placed in our Thankoffering box.
My own Thankoffering box has a place of honor on my kitchen windowsill. It is actually a repurposed salted nut can with a slit in its lid. In Advent or Lent I most often use a special offering box from ELCA World Hunger.
November is traditionally the month in which we gather our Thankofferings and offer them in worship, or in our circles or congregational group. Shared with churchwide Women of the ELCA, these gifts and offerings continue to support the work and service of women in our church and in communities around the world, supporting training women leaders, communication, and program development.
May our Thankofferings be a daily awareness, and a daily commitment to the ministry of women and of the Women of the ELCA.
Holy One, open our eyes and hearts in daily awareness of your gifts and in gratitude. Help us to live in thankfulness, service, and praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen
The Rev. Gail Heidtke is a retired ELCA pastor living in Palatine, IL.
Download Giving Thanks to God – All Day, Every Day, a series of prayers to use throughout the day that will help you build the discipline of thanking God in all circumstances.
Learn about the history of Thankofferings by downloading All About Thankofferings and share that history with those in your congregational unit.