Give Thanks

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Life & Times, Parenting, Random Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

Luke 17:11-19 (NLT) 11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” 16 He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.”

Thanksgiving is a lost art.  When I was growing up, my mom and dad pounded this into me.  When they would give me something, they would ask, “Now what do you say?”  To which I would reply “Thank you”.  I can vividly remember staying the night at friends’ homes.  When I’d get dropped off, my parents would yell out a final instruction and it was usually, “Be sure to say PLEASE and THANK-YOU.”  It’s funny that of all the last-minute reminders, this topped the list!  Maybe I wasn’t good at it.  Maybe they knew the long-term value of it.  Either way, it was important enough to drill me on it every chance they had.  What’s even funnier is that when they would pick me up, they’d ask “Did you say your ‘Please & Thank-Yous'”?

The older I get, the more I appreciate them for it.  It amazes me how little adults say thank you nowadays.   As an employer, I’ve given out raises to no “thanks”.  As a pastor, I’ve distributed financial aid to no “thanks”. As a parent, we’ve given gifts to no “thanks”. I find myself wanting to play coach to other adults when I see it happening.  To the waitress who does a superb job filling the water at your table.  To the co-worker who lends a hand with one of your projects.  To the person who holds the door open for you at the store entrance.   To the friend who gives helpful counsel, or the person who gives timely advice.  “Thanks.”

Lack of “Thanks” communicates entitlement.  I deserve this.  I earned this. It communicates a wounded heart.  It’s about time.  Almost as if people are thinking, “Well NO ONE says ‘thanks’ to me, so I’M NOT going to say it to anyone else.” Wounded.

[On a spiritual note, I wonder how God feels when we fail to say thanks for his blessings.  I wonder how Jesus feels when we fail to acknowledge his sacrifice on the cross.  How much thanking do we do in our prayers?  I decided to make a conscious effort to sincerely start thanking God for things in my life, and ELIMINATING insincere ‘thanks’.  For example, I used to say a ‘routine’ prayer thanking God for each meal. But I’ve changed it up so I can REALLY thank God for his bounty; goodness; that I will not take eating for granted, etc.  I challenge you to really THANK God for who he is, what he is providing, and what he’s doing in your life.]

When we say thanks, it blesses us. It helps us battle against the inner feelings of entitlement.  It keeps us humble.  It protects our heart.  It gives credit where credit is due.  Andy Stanley’s book “Enemies of the Heart” specifically mentions this.  Giving “thanks” helps us beat down the enemies of greed and selfishness that war against our heart.  Thank you moves us from SELFISHNESS to SELFLESSNESS.

When we say thanks, it blesses others. It emboldens them. It fills them with courage.  To most, they are not looking for acknowledgement but when it is received, it brightens their day.  It spurs them on!  Thank you is a HUGE compliment.  It makes makes people want to continue doing things for others.

Thanks mom & dad. Thank YOU for reading this!

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