Hello everyone and welcome to episode 44, the last in our “November to be thankful” series. I’ll have links to the other 3 episodes in the show notes below.

Carol pointed out to me that some listeners may not know what the “show notes” are and where to find them. “Show notes” for each episode are notes to myself, reminding me what to include in the episode. It’s not a transcript, and not exactly an outline. They are simply the main points I want to cover. Some people prefer to read these before or after they play the episode.

They are especially helpful if you want to check out links to other resources mentioned in the episode. You’ll find them at the end of the show notes under “Other Resources.”

To find the show notes, go to our website, johncertalic.com/podcast. There you will find the most recent podcast episode with the podcast audio player, along with the show notes right below it. Scroll down to see the show notes for prior episodes.

Well, on to today, where we wrap up our four part-series by considering the benefits to us in being thankful for the people in our life, both past and present, who have invested in us. Especially for those for whom there was no discernible return on their investment.Do you ever feel awkward at those moments when someone does something really kind and generous for you? Where they go out of their way to do something that that’s more than just giving you a gift? Where they do something that shows they are investing in you because they believe in you, and want the best for you?

Their investment can be something that appears to be very small for them, but is actually very large for you. Or it can be something they are giving up to sacrifice for your benefit, in hopes that what they do will have a positive impact on your life moving forward?

If you’ve ever felt this way, like I have, know that when we have a hard time accepting the generosity of others, and their investment in our lives, it is revealing an obstacle to our character development. The good news is that this a flaw we can overcome.

Keep listening to learn how.

Vern and Lorraine. Loraine’s memorial service on Nov. 2. I mentioned both of them way back in Episode 4, The Gift of Even Though. Heard lots of stories of what she did to invest in the lives of others.

She got a job  for me at the Eau Claire Press Company, where I quit after a month. She found an apartment for us with Mrs. Burns, then we got a dog, without asking permission. She made us get rid of Barney, I bet Lorraine’s credibility took a hit because of our youthful indiscretion. But she never said a word to us about it.

Her behavior, how she lived life, encouraged Janet and me to be more like her. Her investment in our life contributed greatly to shaping us into the people we are today.

Mrs. Roller. I wrote about her in THEM – The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others. Guidance counselor in high school. She asked what I planned to do upon graduation. Resigned to go to college in town. She asked Is that what you really want to do? No. I want to leave home. But couldn’t afford to. Parents would sign the paperwork for financial aid. She did some checking with UW-Eau Claire, got some aid, which allowed me to go there.

Bethesda Lutheran. Our college town church. Pastor’s wife who led the college and career Sunday School class in the Book of Romans for 2 years. There were about 20 of us in that class, 2 of whom I know became pastors. Carol was in there with Janet and me. What happened in that class, and in that church, set the trajectory for the rest of my life. The church didn’t get anything out of it, except obeying God and being faithful in their mission as a church. It would be interesting to see what happened to everyone 50 years after that experience.

Couple friends. I can’t talk yet about they did recently to invest in me. I haven’t gotten their permission to share what it is, but I can tell you it’s one of the most meaningful things anyone has ever done for me. Their investment in me has deeply touched my heart.

Here’s what I learned today. It’s caused me to reflect on a number of things.

  • When it seems like there’s nothing in it for the people who invest in us, they actually do benefit, but in ways that we may not notice or appreciate. Our natural inclination is to focus on us as the beneficiary of someone’s investment in us, and we can easily miss how it benefits the other person. They get something out of it, too.
  • Some people have the gift of giving. Romans 12 mentions this, and for people like this, Paul says we should let them give.
  • Receiving well what people do to invest in us is an antidote to our pride. It’s a reminder of our need for control, and that we don’t control as much as we think we do.
  • It’s a reminder we may be not as generous or sacrificial as they are. It picks at our conscious. We may feel shame that we’re not as good a person as they are. But if it motivates us to be like them, this kind of shame is a good thing.
  • It encourages me to pay it forward. To model for others what has been modeled to me.
  • When we allow people to invest in us, we lower ourselves a bit. It’s an admission of our neediness, it’s a recognition of our need for community.
  • When we step back to be thankful for people who poured into our lives, we acknowledge how we all need each other, and how we ourselves can profit by investing in other people.
  • It can raise the bar of our own character development. We have someone we can model ourselves after. We let a big part of them rub off on us.
  • When people invest in us, it gives us a picture of Jesus.

Before I close, here’s the he main take-away from today’s episode, our show in a sentence

We can be the person others are thankful for when we invest in them for no other reason than to enjoy the pleasures of reflecting well the character of Jesus.

Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show.

Who are you thankful for that invested in you, that believed in you and poured their life into you, without any strings attached or without any discernible benefit to them self?

Who can you now invest in? Even with something short and quick that can change someone’s life?

Who can you represent Jesus to, by calling upon His power to reflect his character well?

As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And unless you are a business owner, may the Friday that follows be anything but black for you. May it be full of orange and yellow and bright red and other colors that reflect a heart over flowing with Thanksgiving to God for all the ways he has blessed you.

And if you are a business owner, may your Black Friday be over the top tomorrow with profits that put you in the black for the year, and reward you for the risk you’ve taken to the fight the battles of commerce you face each day.

May you use those profits to hire more people for new jobs you create. May your profits be used to give raises and bonuses to the hard-working men and women you employ so they can better provide for their families.

May the profits you generate tomorrow be used by you and your employees to fund and support missionaries spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to every known people group on earth. Yes, may your Black Friday be yet another channel God uses to bless you, and bring glory to Himself.

Now for Our Relationship Quote of the Week

We’re all hungry for a map to joy, and when someone is courageous enough to draw it for us, we naturally follow.         

~ Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference – Negotiating as if your life depended on it.

That’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.

Resources mentioned in today’s show

Episode 41: Thankful for the cheerleaders in my life.

Episode 42: Thankful for the Irritations of life

Episode 43: Thankful for People Different from Me

Episode 4:   The Gift of Even Though

Book: THEM – The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others

Book: Never Split the Difference – Negotiating as if your life depended on it.