Devotional

Saying “Thank You” takes effort

Rev Canon Terry Wong // January 6, 2019, 11:18 pm

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Photo by Gabrielle Cole on Unsplash

It takes effort to say: “Thank you.” That was what my dear friend, the late Bishop Albert Vun, reminded me of in his last sermon. As the year turns, I want to take some time to pause and give thanks, perhaps where it is least expected. 

I want to thank the Lord for …

Every dear brother and sister who was promoted to glory
They have left the cares of mortal life behind and are now embraced by a loving Saviour. I am thankful for each day I had with them. 

Every suffering encountered
A broken body, a broken heart or dashed hopes. No matter how deep the pain was, I take comfort that it was only for a “little while”, just as You reminded us (1 Peter 1:6). Through some of it, I learned and grew. About others – I do not know the reason for them. There can be only tears for You to wipe when I see You face to face (Revelation 21:4).

A criticism is an opportunity for self-realisation.

Every act of love received, in small or big ways
And every act of love shown. A large part of the time was spent on care-giving. That there is someone to love in the most mundane of ways, I am thankful.

Every discouragement that brought strength 
I have felt hurt. Those hurtful words – I remember them – brought about moments for pause and reflection. Criticism is an opportunity for self-realisation, and that has led to change and growth. 

Every person I have gotten to know in this large community in the Cathedral
There were times I felt lost, lonely though not alone. Sometimes I did not feel significant and thought hardly anyone noticed when I was missing from church. Yet, there was always someone less noticed that I was able to reach out to. I have made friends in church and we have become family to one another. For that rich intimacy in Christ, I am thankful.

Every pastor, staff and member who took the time and made the effort to share church with those who were not able to step into the church 
Stuck to the bed, wheelchair and often very much “home alone”: Different ones brought joy, fellowship, the holy meal and His presence right into their rooms. The Cathedral came to them and for that, I am thankful. 

I do not rejoice that I am still in one piece; Instead, I rejoice that my name is written in the Book of Life.

Every moment of restoration
There were times when I felt selfish and behaved like a sheep who had gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). I do not feel I deserved it but, again and again, Your grace was there. Life, broken as it sometimes was, could be made new again.

Every moment with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour
I could think of many things that could have shortened my life over the year. But I do not just want to rejoice that I am still in one piece. Instead, I want to rejoice that, come what may, my name is written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20).

I know Jesus; and He knows me.

This matters, most.


This article was first published in the weekly service bulletin for St Andrews Cathedral under the “Vicar Writes” column. More articles can be found on the St Andrews Cathedral website here.

Reflection and Discussion

  1. What are three most unexpected things you are thankful for?
  2. Who are the people you are thankful for? Do they know that they are of value to you?
  3. In light of all the blessings you have received, how will you be a channel of blessing to those around you this year?
About the author

Rev Canon Terry Wong

Rev Canon Terry Wong is the Vicar of St Andrews Cathedral. He writes weekly for the weekend service bulletins.