Does a “Thank You” Really Matter?

National_Thank_You_DayDoes a “Thank You” really matter?

Yes.  It really does!

Many of us perceive ourselves to be grateful people.  Often it is because we feel grateful.  We think about how thankful we are to others.  We may hear someone’s name and immediately feel very warm and thankful for them.  Yet, many, many people rarely, if ever express their gratitude.  Far too many people rarely say “thank you.”

You ask your sister to pick up a sandwich for you on her way home from work.  (She has called asking if you would like anything at fast food place where she is stopping.)  She gets home, hands you your sandwich and the first thing you say is, “I told you I didn’t want onions on this sandwich!  And where is the mustard!”  Not exactly a “thank you.”

So often, it is those closest to us who rarely, if ever, hear a “thank you.”

For example:

A young father asks his parents to keep your children for the evening while you and your wife go out to eat.  During the evening, your little girl falls off her bike and skins her knee.  Your parents explain what happened when you return to pick up the kids.  He responds by saying, “I told you that you have to watch her closely!”  Yet, they have set aside an entire evening to care for these children.  Not exactly a “thank you.”

A friend buys a gift for your child’s birthday.  She sends it in the mail.  Its not exactly the gift you would have chosen.  You never mention the gift to your friend.  If someone had mentioned this to you, you might have said, “Of course I appreciate her sending the gift.”  Yet, this is not exactly a “thank you.”

  • Maybe some may not express their thankfulness because they feel entitled to receive whatever people will give them.
  • Maybe some assume that others know they are thankful.
  • Perhaps some of us think we are expressing our gratitude much more than we really are.
  • Finally, some may say “thank you” but then behave in ways that really don’t reflect any kind of graciousness.

At this point, you might think, “Wait a minute, I tell people ‘thank you.z’  I express my gratitude for whatever someone does for me.  Many of us do express our gratitude to customers, co-workers, and the people we interact with everyday.  Yet, some of us take for granted our family and our closest friends.

The following questions might be worth some reflection as they pertain to friends and family:

  • Do others see me as a thankful person?
  • Is there someone in my life who feels taken for granted by me?
  • Are there people in my life who are long overdue for a word of gratitude?
  • Is there someone who has done a favor, sent a gift, or who has shown kindness who still has never received a heartfelt thank you from me?

Of course, one can simply dismiss this as irrelevant.  It could be, however, that regular expressions of thankfulness, as well as simply being thoughtful to friends and family could do wonders for these relationships.

What Are You Thankful For?

(Thanksgiving Week)

ThanksgivingTurkeyThis is Thanksgiving week and I am grateful to God. Like you, I can make quite a list of what I am thankful for.  I will give you some of the reasons why I am grateful. Perhaps in the comments you will be willing to share what you are thankful for.

*I am grateful to God, that through Jesus, I can have relationship with him.  As a result, I am also privileged to have relationship with many, many people in his church.

*I am grateful to Charlotte, for decades of marriage, for being a partner with me through each chapter of our adult lives. Together we have lived in Florence, Ala.; Pulaski, Tn.; Dallas, Tx.; Abilene Tx.; Florence, Ala. (again); Kansas City, Mo.; Waco, Tx.; and Memphis, Tn.

Ministry Inside.133

thankful (1)I am very thankful. (Each Thursday I write a post with church leaders in mind. However, today I want to focus on what I am grateful for. Perhaps this will simulate your thinking and even your gratitude as you consider your own life.)

I am grateful for my family.

  • I am grateful for Charlotte who dared to move to Memphis at this point in our lives to begin a fresh new chapter in our ministry. I am blessed.
  • I am grateful for Christine, mother of two wonderful little boys. I can’t imagine a more attentive mother. So thankful for Phillip, a good and devoted husband and father.
  • I am grateful for Jamie, the social worker with such a heart. Thankful for the way she is thoughtful to so many. So thankful for Cal, an unassuming, gracious husband and man.
  • For those whom I’ve known for so many years. So grateful to receive those texts, e-mails, and handwritten notes. I take none of this for granted.

Is Your Gratitude Obvious to Others?

GratitudeA few years ago, I read everything I could find by Henri Nouwen.

His writings were formative and very encouraging.  On one occasion, I read his book Gracias.  The book is actually a journal chronicling Nouwen’s time spent in Peru and Bolivia.  Near the end of the book, he writes:

The title of this journal summarizes what I found, learned, and heard.  The word that I kept hearing, wherever I went, was: Gracias!  It sounded like the refrain from a long ballad of events.  Gracias a usted, gracias a Dios, muchas gracias — thank you, thanks be to God, many thanks!  I saw thousands of poor and hungry children, I met many young men and women without money, a job, or a decent place to live.  I spent long hours with sick, elderly people, and I witnessed more misery and pain than ever before in my life.  But in the midst of it all, that word lifted me again and again to a new realm of seeing and hearing: Gracias!  Thanks!  (Henri Nouwen, Gracias!, p. 187)

Question:

When have you felt particularly moved by someone’s gratitude?  What made the situation particularly moving?

 

Thankful

thankful.jpgToday, I am thankful.

 

I am thankful to God who is the giver of everything else I am thankful for.  I’m grateful to him for the relationship that I enjoy with him.  Through it all, he has stayed with me, sustained me, prodded me, and has shown his grace in so many ways.

 

I am thankful for my wife Charlotte.  I am grateful that I can honestly say that our marriage is enjoyable.  She has loved me through years of life — and that says a lot!

 

I am thankful for two daughters, Jamie and Christine, and our son-in-law Phillip.  I am tempted at this point to tell you the many, many reasons why I am proud of them.  Perhaps what means the most to me is that I see in each of them a love for God that is real and genuine.

 

I am thankful for encouragers.  I can remember the encouraging words and actions of others from decades ago!  These moments of encouragement are stored away in the safety deposit box of my mind.

 

I am thankful for sweet moments in which someone has taken the time to call, write a note, or in some way express care.  What a nice moment when someone has initiated in some way: "Hey you are on my radar screen today!"  (By the way, this happens so frequently on this blog.)

 

I am thankful for the smell of hot coffee, the taste of cinnamon, and the sound of children laughing.  What else?   Dark chocolate.  Guacamole.  The smell of anything on the grill.    

 

I am thankful for anticipation.  How I love those moments just before one of my daughters comes home.  Many, many times I have looked through our kitchen window waiting to see them drive down our street toward home.  Finally, I see that familiar car and I hurry outside to greet her.

 

I am thankful for Thanksgiving.  It is a yearly reminder that I have so many reasons to be grateful to God.   

*****

These reflections were written in response to an invitation by L. L. Barkat

 

You are cordially invited by L. L. Barkat to join a Thanksgiving Celebration
Just post about a Thanksgiving memory, something you are thankful for
this year, a special family Thanksgiving tradition, your favorite
"thanksgiving" Bible verse, or anything else you can dream up.

Be
serious, spiritual, creative, beautiful, humorous, whatever … it’s a
celebration and good celebrations welcome all kinds of expression!

Thankful

I’m very thankful for all of the people who prayed  for "Tech Support" the last few days.  How wonderful to share a prayer request for someone in a country far from this one and see an outpouring of people who pray.  I was very encouraged to see your response to her.

 

I continue to be very grateful to all of you who read these posts.  Some of you comment occasionally and some very regularly.  I have known some of you for a long time.  Others of you now seem like longtime friends as I have interacted with you through comments and even e-mail for several years.  Then, of course, some of you are fairly new to this blog and I am thankful that you are here.   

 

This blog began four years ago.  At the time, I did not know what to expect from anyone who might be reading.  I did know that writing helped me think through what was on my mind/heart.  Since then, you have been a constant source of encouragement.  Some of you comment occasionally or regularly.  Others have sent notes or have indicated on Facebook that a particular post was meaningful.

 

I like this medium.  It enables me to write something that I hope will be useful to you.  Sometimes these posts originate in what I’ve read or in some particular experience.  At other times, I am thinking about some dimension of life and choose to write about it.

 

Ultimately, I would hope that the posts generally reflect the name of this blog.  After all, I do believe that we are only fully human when we seek and hunger after God.  I really believe this.

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Update: You might enjoy my Facebook page or even Twitter.  I have found both to be very useful.  You might enjoy browsing through some of my bookmarks on my del.icio.us page.  I use this regularly and am constantly adding new bookmarks.

 

You might enjoy looking at God-Hungry Live for new videos that have been added.  Videos are added to this collection very, very regularly.  A number have been added in the last two weeks.  (Go to the top, middle portion of the page and look for "playlist" to see the videos that are available for viewing.)

 

Finally, "What I’m Reading" in the right hand bar has been updated.