Thank God I’m Filipino
By S. Bill Jimenez
TGIF! Thank God I’m Filipino!
Among Filipinos, thanksgiving is an important virtue. “Utang na loob” (gratefulness) should be expressed and demonstrated; otherwise, you are called “walang utang na loob” (ungrateful). And being ungrateful is a stigma you don’t want.
One Pangasinense who was supported by a ministry for four years in college wrote: “Thank you so much that your ministry supported my studies. I am very thankful that now I can help my family. Someday I will repay the good things you have given me. Thank you.” This young man expressed his thanksgiving by committing to help his family and others. Now working as an OFW, he recently donated some amount to the ministry that helped him.
Filipinos working abroad always look back to their beloved Philippines. I’m reminded of the Filipino saying, “Ang taong ‘di marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakaraing sa paroroonan.” As an expression of gratitude, billions of money are being remitted by OFWs to their families and loved ones.
On thanksgiving, we also learn from great men. Cicero said, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues.” “A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things,” said Plato. Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.” “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,” added Desmond Tutu.
Expressing thanksgiving is good, but does it end there? Lee Iacocca, the savior of Chrysler, in his book “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?” writes: “I like to look at life as having three stages. The first is learning. The second is earning.
And the third is returning. If you think of retirement as a time of returning—of giving something back to society–it can transform your life.” Now retired, Iacocca pours his energies into the Iacocca Foundation which is dedicated to medical research.
King David demonstrated the virtue of thanksgiving by giving (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” To return the kindness and friendship of Jonathan, he wanted to reciprocate in some way. It turned out that Jonathan had a crippled son–Mephibosheth. David invited him to the palace and with dread, he came. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” David used this principle in Proverbs: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act” (3:27).
Thanksgiving is actually giving back. There is more blessedness in giving as Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Thanksgiving through giving is sowing generously. As Paul writes: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Happy Thanksgiving to all!