An ancient Chinese proverb says, “Those who drink the water must remember who dug the well.”

In every area, our lives are made lighter through the efforts of others. Take a look around. Everything you see is a call for gratitude: The house you live in, the clothes you wear, your table, your chair, your bed. Someone dug the well, so to speak, to make these available.

There were also those who taught you in school, and Sunday School. There were those who told you about Jesus, who volunteered for VBS and, later, youth camps and retreats. Who prayed for you, who encouraged you along the way. Those individuals were also digging the well, and they deserve your gratitude.

Our job, then, is to remember to remember those who put the well in its place, to say thank you in person when we can, and to say thank you to God for bringing this person our way.

In addition to this, our job goes just a step further. We need to be getting our own hands dirty, so to speak, and digging wells of our own, in service to others. It’s a simple step to ask ourselves throughout the day: Who, besides me, will benefit from what I am doing right now?

During his second and third missionary journeys, the apostle Paul “dug a well” in Ephesus: planting a church, leading people to Christ and training leaders.

And yet, it is he who expressed gratitude to them when he wrote in his letter to the believers there, ”I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:16)

Our work as followers of Christ involves digging wells that will last for eternity. This week, let’s tend to the task in a spirit of gratitude — thankful for those we serve, and thankful for those who have played a role in guiding us along the way.

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