Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Heb. 13:15)

WHEN HURRICANE SANDY smashed into the East Coast of the United States in October 2012, it destroyed thousands of homes. Several weeks later, a team from our church went to New York City to help with the cleanup. We worked in a neighborhood that was home to many elderly people. Their homes had been flooded and were uninhabitable. Drywall had to be removed and replaced, carpets torn up, basements gutted and then dried. For days we cut and carried soggy rugs and mildewed drywall out to the curb, making a huge pile of debris.

Mr. Winston, an elderly homeowner who had lost his car and most belongings, worked alongside us, but he was unable to do the heavy lifting. As we carried the musty rubbish from his home, he said two words over and over: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Fully aware of both his own helplessness and the value of the gift he had received, this man was overwhelmed with gratitude.

That should always be our response to grace, especially the grace of Jesus Christ. When we were helpless in our sins, He did the heavy lifting for us. He took the rotting debris from our lives and carried it on His own shoulders. What we were powerless to do for ourselves, Jesus did for us. What else can we say but “Thank you, thank you, thank you”?

When you place something in the trash today, say, “Thanks, Lord, for taking my place.”

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, blogger, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana. He is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy: Living the Way Jesus Lived (Wesleyan Publishing House).