Two Important Words
“Thank You” are two of the most important words we can use. They rank right up there with “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” Of course, none of these words are meaningful if they are not sincere, coming from somewhere deep inside us.
Giving thanks, expressing gratitude are highly encouraged in the scriptures. Paul reminds us in his prison letter to the Philippians (4:6-7) that thanksgiving is a great antidote for anxiety. Try it sometime when you are feeling anxious. Take a few minutes to make a list of all the good things God has done for you in your lifetime and see the anxiety give way to hope and confidence in God.
Saying a heartfelt “Thank you” acknowledges our dependency on God and others who do good things for us. Expressing gratitude also demonstrates an awareness that our lives are intricately interwoven with God and others. We are the recipient of kindness and grace we do not deserve. Expressing gratitude shows respect for God and others and tends to dispel the selfishness and entitlement into which we can so easily fall.
As I think about my need to be more thankful I am reminded of a couple of phrases from prayers I have heard. The first is from a deceased friend who often prayed at mealtime, “Lord, give us grateful hearts for what we are about to receive.” The other was passed on to me from a woman whose heart was deeply touched by her aging father’s gratitude for his health, “Father, thank you for the measure of health I still enjoy.” Both prayers express a tremendous truth about life: God is good to us and the proper response is to say “Thank You.”
Do you sometimes get frustrated when you do something generous for a family member and there isn’t the least acknowledgment of your kindness? Now, I know we are not to do good things for selfish recognition but I admit that the lack of “thank you” bothers me. This is probably something I need to work on but I honestly feel disrespected when this happens. When I am tempted to judge the character of others for this omission, the Spirit causes me to ask these questions, “Do I treat God the way I think I am being treated? How does God feel about the way I treat Him?”
“Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul.” Henry Ward Beecher