Know That You Owe
All of us have heard someone described as “a self-made person.” The truth is that no one is self-made. I am not. You are not. No one is. It is impossible to become eminently successful at anything solely by self-effort.
Having said that, how long has it been since you personally credited someone who contributed to all or part of your success? Legions of people cooperate to make each of your days possible. Some work very hard daily: the trucker on the road at 3:00 AM delivering the produce you consume, those involved in law enforcement seeking to provide for your security, and even the crossing guards who protect and assist you on your way to school.
There is the pastor in his or her study preparing a message that will lift your faith, teachers who guided or still guide you through school and the research scientist on a stool in a lab trying to learn something that will buy you a few more years of life. Then there are the members of your own family who strive to meet your needs daily.
Do not forget the men and women in the military services of our country who risk their lives in hot spots around the world in order to preserve the liberties no American should ever take for granted, men on platforms drilling for oil so you can drive where you wish, and secretaries, receptionists, restaurant cooks and waiters. This is only a partial list of those who touch your life on a regular basis.
Someone nursed you when you were a child, clothed you, and kept you safe. Millions in our world die before they reach the age of ten. Millions more are beaten, abused, famished, and diseased. Life and health should never be taken for granted.
Teachers taught you to read, gave you a love for music, and taught you to play a sport. Nurses brought you a blanket or a tray of food when you were a patient in the hospital. Someone went the second mile to meet a specific need you had or have.
Know that you owe. Know whom you owe. Do not fail to recognize the countless contributions that others make to your life every single day. And please do not forget to say “thank you” – to God, or to others – when these two words are earned. You fool only yourself if you think you made it, or could ever make it, on your own. No one ever has. No one ever will.
There is a sense in which no gift is yours until you have thanked the giver.