Archive for August, 2012

Thanksgiving and Pay-cheques

August 18, 2012

There once was a time, long, long, ago, when workers got real pay-cheques.  I rather liked receiving my official letter from Medicine Hat College each month with a large cheque in it.  I quite liked the subsequent bicycle ride to the bank to deposit my big cheque.  For a time I made it a practice to offer a prayer of thanks as I deposited my monthly salary.

Today it is harder to be thankful.  Computerization of workplaces and the financial industry has led to deposits being made automatically. One hardly notices these monthly deposits.  Now that I am retired I don’t even have to work in order to have cheques deposited into my account.  There are so many deposits coming in that I nearly feel that I should hire an accountant in order to keep track of them all.  There are the government pensions, CPP and OAS, payments made to me simply for being old – amazing!  Then there are my two work pensions. These will keep coming every month until the day that I die.  Then there are deposits from my current teaching and research contracts, and the occasional interest deposit.  All of these just keep being added to my bank account, month after month.  It is so easy to take all this for granted.

And there’s the rub.  It is all too easy to take these automatic deposits for granted.  I believe this creates a spiritual problem for us as Christians.  Taking something for granted represents a failure to acknowledge the God who is ultimately the generous Giver of all our pay-cheques.  Can we take credit for our intelligence or our skills that make it possible for us to get a job? No.  Can we take credit for the opportunities to work?  No.  Can we take credit for our health that enables us to continue to work?  No.  Can we take credit for living in a land of relative stability and peace that makes regular employment possible? No.  All of these are gracious gifts from our heavenly Father.

God, speaking through Moses, warned the Israelites about taking things for granted after they arrived in the land of promise.  You will be tempted to say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deut 8:17-18).

Remember to thank God, next time you look at your bank account and see those deposits that are really not all that automatic.

(This article first appeared in the “Reflections Newsletter” of Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Aug. 2008.)