"Thank you for doing that," said she, smiling in a way that conveyed real sincerity.
"I didn't do it," you said, being that this was the only honest response.
"Well, I pictured you doing it, so thank you." Her smile was a little more fixed and insistent.
A pause settled down on the bistro table. Someone was smoking a cigarette somewhere nearby and it added a pleasantness with the noise of other patrons. Your coffee cooled a moment longer untouched. It was time to choose your words with diplomacy and yet carry the fragile child named "Admonition".
"You are, truly, a forty watt bulb." You smile in a way that conveyed ontological certainty and took a sip.
I suppose that someone at sometime has thanked you for that which you did not do. The thanks in that circumstance are nowhere near as valuable as being thanked for that which you did. In fact, they are not valuable at all. A presumption from the above illustration is that thanksgiving is only actual, not when we do it, but when it tracks directly with reality. People can only stand before God in honor and thanksgiving with a certain submission to realities that God has defined and made.
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,"
This is not only applicable to the secular mind which fails to absorb the world that stares them in the face. This is for the Christian who shies away from the the obvious conclusions available in reality. Thanking God for your government "for there is no authority except from God" and thanking God for submission to your husband or parents. How many Christians fail to be thankful because they don't actually believe that they "look up" at parents, husbands, or kings. If you believe in that which God has made, you can render both honor and thanksgiving naturally. Have you accepted what is?
Thanking God for His grace is truly effective when you believe it is part of your reality. This is another evisceration of thanksgiving. There are things for which we know we ought to thank God (which we dutifully do) but about which we only hold doctrinal affirmation. It is not as much a part of our reality. When you drop a valuable vase on the concrete patio, you will find the difference between a reality based adoption of gravity and a doctrinal one. And when you sin do you search for grace with the same "real" alacrity with which you dove for the falling heirloom? You took that humbling and costly experience with thirty-two-feet-per-second-squared and never, ever will carry anything so clumsily and casually as you did that day. You seriously believe in gravity. You trust it every step you take. Is God that real? Is Sin? Is Grace?
Grandma gives you socks for Christmas. You thank her because you ought. It is not that you disbelieve that the socks or she exists but that you don't believe that such an action truly sufficed as a gift. It wasn't what you wanted. It wasn't really a gift in your reality so it wasn't really thanksgiving when the words trickled out of you mouth. That it is real, and you thanked her, is insufficient. Rich thanksgiving is offered according to the real by someone who has submitted to the real.
The oracle: Know what is, live no other, be thankful for it.