They Reverently Took Off Their Hats

May 23, 2008 — 4 Comments

I was on break, sitting in the corner of the restaurant eating my dinner. The dining room was pretty empty – quiet, calm. I looked up to see a family walking in. Dad, Mom, and three boys. I chuckled to myself as they reminded me of ducks, all in height order. Dad, the tallest. Mom next, then the three others. All in a straight line.

They ordered their food, and sat down a few booths away from me, across the aisle. Two boys on one side, mom and another son on the other. Dad at the head of the table.

I saw another family glance at them, chuckling among themselves. I wasn’t. I was watching what they did next. All of them reverently took off their hats, closed their eyes, and thanked God for their food. The other family starting whispering again. I was convicted.

I totally forgot to thank God for my food! I thought to myself. Okay, well…I just flat out didn’t do it because I just didn’t feel like it.

The family concluded their prayer, returned their hats to their heads, and began eating. I really wanted to walk over and thank them right then and there for their example to me and to others in the restaurant. People may think it’s old and cliche to talk about being a witness by praying in public. I don’t think it is at all. Something was working in my heart right there, and the Holy Spirit was working through this family.

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Fast forward to the night after. I’m driving home. The sun is setting, a faint moon can be made out in the blue sky. Music plays quietly the background with the faint sound of tires on the road. I was thinking about that family. What exactly was God trying to tell me? It couldn’t simply be “Tim, you didn’t ask a blessing over your food.” I knew it was much, much deeper than that.

It became pretty obvious to me as I saw that sunset in front of me and I drove towards home. I was ungrateful for what God had given me – I wasn’t thankful to God that I was driving a car I own, I wasn’t thankful for my job, my family, a home to return to, a church family, life, salvation, or the cross. I had been moping around worrying about finishing school, whining about having to work, and complaining about the situations I found myself in. The praying family stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thank goodness God is “kind to ungrateful and evil men.” I was acting just like those evil men described in 2 Timothy 3:2, the men who are “lovers of self…arrogant…ungrateful, unholy…[and] holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” Paul tells us to “avoid such men as these.”

I should not act like these sinful men, but instead should give thanks to God for his infinite mercy to me first of all through the gospel. The truth of the cross does not allow for ungratefulness. Secondly, I must thank God for his grace through the Holy Spirit, shown to me daily. Last, I must thank God for common grace – life, sun, rain, oxygen, etc. With these things in mind I should never stop giving thanks to God.

So, it’s not that I broke some rule about praying before my meal. The issue is much deeper than that – things like that can quickly show us a much deeper problem in our lives. My prayer is that none of us will allow ourselves to overlook that truth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.

Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

4 responses to They Reverently Took Off Their Hats

  1. These are great thoughts, Tim. I think I have been the same way as of late.
    It is hard to keep the things to be thankful in our foremost thoughts. Instead we are always thinking of the things that we are worrying about. I think that is the biggest way that satan manages to snare us. He puts all the things that are worries and things that seem important in the front of our eyes, so that we take our eyes off of Jesus and the really important things like being thankful.
    Thanks for this post. It puts being thankful back into focus.
    by the way… are you a senior this year? I see you are 18, but I can’t find if you are a senior. If you are, I am hosting a giveaway for the Class of 2008. The link is: http://superangelsblog.com/?p=93

    Have a great nite!
    Prayers and Blessings,
    Miss Amanda

  2. Thank you, Tim. That was convicting.

  3. This was so, so encouraging to me. Lately, I have been really fighting through a tough time which I honestly don’t understand. My heart aches, I’ve had moments of being incredibly afraid, I’m tired of it all, I just don’t understand… I really don’t understand. I don’t understand, but I can praise Him. I don’t understand, but I can reach my arms up and cling tightly to my Heavenly Father and rest my head against His Chest and let His Heartbeat calm me. I don’t understand, but He is good and He is Faithful and He Loves me… so if I claim to believe in Him, at all, I must — not I may — trust Him wholeheartedly with abandonment of all that would hinder. If His Promises are true, it is for good and not for bad that He allows me to hurt, to weep, to strive so much. Shall I tell Him that I know better? Shall I desire something after He, who has promised to withhold “no good thing” from those who walk uprightly, has shown me that it is not best? Shall I tell Him by my heart’s cry that I want anything besides Him and all that He has done for me and promised me and desires for me, out of His great Love? No… I don’t understand, but I can praise and thank Him for all I need — all that His Grace provides. I don’t see the meaning of it all, but I know that He is Good and that He only allows what is meant for my good. I can trust. I don’t understand the situation, but I KNOW that He is Faithful and so I will witness of His Character, even… no… ESPECIALLY in this situation, to all who will see or hear.
    I will praise Him. I will not trust the look or feel of any situation more than the Character of His Heart. I will trust and will strive to never cease to thank Him who is Faithful beyond all earthly measure of faithfulness’ bounty. I will. May my heart and life, words and actions, be such as would please Him, truly please Him.

    Thank you so much for this, and your last post, Tim. You have blessed me so much as you seek after God and seek to reflect Him purely and without compromise in your life. Thank you! God bless you, brother!

  4. Yes, it’s back up and running.

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