Friday, November 16, 2012

Whatever Happened to Thank You?

Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they?  "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?"  Luke 17:17-18

Parents who care about manners train their children to say "Thank you" whenever they are given a favor.  Those children could grow up and go on through life mouthing the words from habit or to avoid being considered boorish in their social contacts. But some of them will experience genuine gratefulness, and it will show in their facial expression and body language.  You can tell the difference.

We can tell a lot about people's religion by the way they say "Thank you" to the Creator.  Some argue there is no God to thank. Others say, "God gave me such a bad deal. Why should I thank him?"  And Jesus was astonished that only one of the ten lepers who were healed from leprosy came back to say "Thank you." 

The heart of Christian worship is called the Eucharist (from the Greek eucharistein, which means to give thanks).  There are of course hypocrites who sing and say the right words of thanksgiving in church while their inner sourness makes them as walking crabs seeking who they can pinch next. . But, like any loving parent, God delights in a genuine attitude of thanksgiving and thanksgiving sweetens everything. So what is the spiritual nature of one who does not say, “Thank you?”  Is it again Pride? 

If we honestly look at ourselves, there is really nothing that we are and have — our life, talents, possessions — that we can claim as our own.  All of them are gifts from God.  For this reason, we must always thank God for His generosity to us. In life, we take many people for granted.  The first in line is our parents. This seems to stem from the fact that they have been and are always there for us. Like God, they just keep on giving without counting the cost.  It is precisely for this reason that we should express our appreciation to them.

Gratitude is a Close Relative of Happiness
A husband and wife who often express their gratitude to each other maintain a happy relationship.  This is because they feel the other's sincere appreciation for what they are and what they do.  They are thus encouraged to continue to become better persons.  As often happens when words of gratitude cease to be exchanged, they are replaced with words of criticism and displeasure. These negate all the good which brought them happiness in the first place. 

Gracious people make us feel appreciated. The essence of appreciation is humility that respects others, what they possess, their time and their rights and says “thank you.”  The tragic truth is that the degeneration of man begins with a lack of thanks based in a pride that says man is his own god.

  • In his own "vain imagination" about himself, man then attempts to create his own provision.
  • Practical Atheism begins with ingratitude. It ends in idolatry and destruction. 
  • Most men in this condition find no reason for thanksgiving but only stand to complain.
It may be that praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity, as Samuel Johnson said, but most of us would prefer to err on the side of giving too much praise than too little.

Selective thanksgiving has been the practice of most Christians.  We are thankful for what we see as beneficial to our life and health. What God teaches as thankfulness is not merely acknowledging what we see as good, but accepting what He has given as good. There is no thankfulness without contentment.  For if God has blessed, He has blessed sufficiently.

Our sense of entitlement has gone out of control.  The story of the ten lepers is revealing of the condition of our world. So, what is wrong with saying Thank you?  Thank someone today who has been important in your life but most of all, give thanks to your Heavenly Father!

Scripture to Claim:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philipians 4:6  

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