A podcast I listened to this week introduced a new-to-me concept in gratitude. That of being BEHOLDEN. I know, Thanksgiving was so yesterday, but as we continue our holiday season, I plan to build on the discipline of gratitude I’ve felt called to create. There’s nothing like gratitude to get you out of a rut – at least that’s my prayer.
The word BEHOLDEN carries with it the idea of owing or being indebted. It usually carries a negative connotation, as in, “I don’t like to be beholden to anyone.” Even though carrying financial debt is more common than the cold, our fiercely independent culture doesn’t generally like the idea of personal indebtedness. As a general rule, we want to accomplish things on our own and not owe anyone that we can look in the face. If you think these ideals are sounding outdated, think about how difficult it is for you to ask a friend, neighbor, or even family member for help – with anything. Money, a project, a ride somewhere, or an ear to listen. We don’t like admitting that we don’t have everything we need. And community suffers for it.
The give and take of relationships is what oftentimes cements us together.
I don’t mind being indebted to another. It means we are in fellowship. If you have a relationship, be it spouse, friend, or family, that you don’t owe a whole lot (and vice versa); I might argue that it’s not much of a relationship. As we finish up our Thanksgiving celebrating and turn our attention toward Christmas, my heart swells with how BEHOLDEN I am to Jesus. He left the comfort of heaven to be born into a painful and sinful world. I am BEHOLDEN to Him for giving us an example to follow in life and love. I am BEHOLDEN to Jesus for dying a sinless death on the cross so that my sinful life could be saved from eternal separation from God. I am BEHOLDEN to Him for making me right with my Heavenly Father and calling me friend. He saved me, and gave me hope. For that I can never repay Him. And I am BEHOLDEN to Jesus for never asking me to.
Who are you BEHOLDEN to that you still need to thank? List it, express it, write it and rehearse it before Thanksgiving gets too small in the rear view. Lastly, I am BEHOLDEN to you, dear reader, for your kind attention.