A little while ago, satan decided to cash in on a popular North American pass-time. He decided to have a garage sale.
(Of course, that evil one makes use of all our joys and turns them into something to hurt us!)
Unlike most garage sales, though, he only had 4 piles of things he was selling:
- a jumble of eye-glasses
- a group of rakes
- a stack of shovels
- and bags of seeds
As is the custom in garage sales, every item was priced to appeal to the customer – they were all dirt cheap!
Morning dawned with a sunny, blue sky. Husbands and wives followed the “Garage Sale” signs posted at the corners, and pulled up in front of satan’s driveway. They parked, and got out to examine what was for sale.
Little did they know the real purpose of what satan was selling…
The purpose of the eye glasses was to make the wearer see their own importance. Those glasses magnified every bit of self-justification and self-importance a human can experience.
The rake was to break apart and tear down their spouse – to shred every word, every action, and every emotion.
The shovel was to bury their spouse, once the spouse was torn up and broken down.
But the bag of seeds had no tag on it. There was no way to determine what would grow from the seeds in the bag, so every couple would ask satan, “What kind of seeds are these?”
And satan would reply, “They’re an awesome blend that will grow in almost every soul… I mean soil! They’re a specially formulated blend of doubt and discouragement I’ve been working on.”
Most couples would nod, and make their fourth purchase. (After all, everything was dirt cheap!)
Only a few couples would pick up on satan’s wording – “grow in almost every soil” – and they’d ask, “What kind of soil won’t these grow in?”
At this question satan would become visibly frustrated; his forehead would get red, his nostrils would flair, and his fists would clench.
He was forced to answer, “No matter how hard I try and what I do to this blend of seeds I just can’t make them grow in a thankful soul.”
What are we doing to encourage thankfulness to grow?
Our society is formulated to create a sense of “want” in us. I want this – I need that – I’ll be happy if…
We need to switch it around. What are we thankful for?
Here’s one suggestion to grow your thankfulness – together with your spouse:
- Buy a notebook. Expensive or cheap, it doesn’t matter.
- Every evening (or morning) write 5 things you’re thankful for on either the right or the left side of the page.
- Encourage your spouse to write their 5 things on the opposite side.
- Do this for a month.
- Become aware of what each other is thankful for, and experience a surge of growth in encouragement.
In what other ways could we all cultivate thankfulness in our marriages?
I’d like to invite you to join me on Facebook and Twitter!
ps – This story is one I heard in a church service. The minister didn’t know its origins, but if you do, please let me know! Yes, I did spin the story to make it fit husbands and wives. And yes, I didn’t capitalize satan’s name on purpose.
This is great! Thanks for a great metaphor that I can use in my counseling sessions with couples. I will attach two incredible videos on gratitude that I also have used with clients. They are each about 5 minutes and do wonders to inspire gratefulness in a soul.
I wrote a “52 reasons I love you” note for my husband. It was a takeoff on a game my student told me about where you write on all the cards in a deck. You could easily adapt it to 52 reasons I’m thankful!