Just Say "Thank You"
Monday, November 23, 2020
- Pastor Tony Rea
Years ago I took a very special young man under my wing and began to mentor him. In a way I became a father figure to him; and as time went on, we established an extremely close friendship. I learned early on in our relationship, this young man had a heart of gold; and whenever I was in over my head project-wise, or needed a helping hand of any kind, he would always go out of his way to assist me. He was one of those guys who made himself available.
I noticed whenever I would return his kindness with a gift or some kind of monetary blessing, he would immediately say to me, “You didn’t have to do that!” That was his first and only response. I guess it was his way of letting me know he valued our friendship enough to donate his time, and he really didn’t expect or even want to be compensated for his service and efforts.
While I get it and can fully appreciate the joy that comes from being a blessing to someone else, I’ve also learned there’s tremendous power in saying these two words, “Thank you.” According to the latest research, just hearing those words spoken makes the recipient of them happier and healthier. The fact is, 87 percent of all people surveyed say a simple “Thank you” goes a long, long way. It actually improves self-esteem and creates a greater desire to give and serve even more.
After hearing my friend repeat the same phrase on many different occasions, I felt the need to once again offer him some loving advice and encouragement. I told him when a person does something nice for you, even if you didn’t expect anything in return, instead of saying, “You didn’t have to do that,” just say, “Thank you.” That’s it…smile and say, “Thank you.” End of story.
Expressing our gratitude to each other when warranted is extremely important. Appreciation benefits everyone, both the person offering thanks and the person receiving it. How many of you have learned saying “Thank you” is also a big deal to God? That’s how we enter his gates—with thanksgiving—and we come into his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). God longs for His people to develop hearts of gratefulness; and believe it or not, God takes great pleasure in hearing us offer thanksgiving and praise.
There’s a story in the Gospel of Luke about ten men who had leprosy. Many people refer to this account as a parable (a made-up story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson). Even though Jesus was a master at telling parables and used them often to engage His listeners, the story of the ten lepers actually happened; it’s not a parable.
As the story goes, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when He encountered ten men who had the dreadful disease of leprosy. As such, these men lived in isolation and were not allowed to interact with their families or communities. In short, they were outcasts, and the law demanded they keep their distance from people and continually repeat the words “Unclean. Unclean.”
When they heard Jesus was passing by, they kept their distance but instead of saying, “Unclean,” they cried out in a loud voice, “Jesus, have mercy on us.”
When Jesus discerned they were lepers, He responded by telling them to go to the priests and have the priests perform another medical examination. As the ten lepers followed Jesus’ instructions and made their way to the temple, they were all cleansed of their leprosy. At Jesus’ word, a miracle took place, and they were completely healed. They ran to the temple, and all ten men were given a clean bill of health. Not only did they escape the tragic fate of dying a most horrible death, they were now allowed to return to a normal life—engaging with family members and friends.
Following the supernatural healing of all ten men, one of the lepers made his way back to Jesus. Falling down at His feet, the healed man said “Thank you!” In other words, thank you for answering my prayer and giving me a new lease on life.
At that, Jesus looked out into the distance, His eyes shifting in all directions. Finally Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?” Is this really the only one out of the group who was willing to come back, show his appreciation, and say thank you?
This is the Thanksgiving season. In just a few days, we will meet together with family members and friends—5 to 10 people at the most (smile), and the majority of us will roast, deep-fry, grill, pressure cook, or Instant Pot a turkey. We will prepare traditional family recipes that have been passed down from previous generations, and we will watch the Lions play the Texans (no predictions).
We will consume a tremendous amount of carbs and sugar treats. After dinner we will grab our stomachs, ask the question, “Why did I eat so much!” and promise never to do that again. At 6PM or so that evening, we’ll repeat our calorie consuming folly, and commence the leftover train.
Hopefully, at some point during the day—an extremely amazing day on all calendars—we will pause for a moment and simply say, “Thank you!”
Thank you, dear God, for every blessing, big and small. We acknowledge everything we have that’s good, has come from Your hand!
1 Thessalonians 5:18
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.