This week, look for opportunities to show small courtesies.
"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike
deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart." â€” Henry Clay
It’s amazing, but we sometimes miss the small but critical moments. Henry Clay is right. The "courtesies of a small and trivial character" really do make a difference. OK — just an observation, but it seems that many of us desire this but then we get wrapped up in our own lives. So, we talk about wanting to show these courtesies but then we never do much practically.
Some of us seem to live with a spirit of entitlement. That is, we act as if people owe us. Consequently, they rarely show appreciation or express thanks. As a guy said to me one time, "Don’t they get paid for doing these things? Why should I say thanks?" Uhhh, I think he missed the point. Saying "Thanks" is to recognize that this is God’s world and every single thing I receive is a gift of grace. I can thank God and thank those who participated in what I have received.
If the Jesus Creed is "Loving God" and "Loving Others," maybe it would do us well to think about practical moments where we can extend small courtesies to others. Again, these are small, practical ways of expressing love for others. This may be very obvious to you. Yet, I think I have known people who never seem to even think about the possibility of showing graciousness toward someone else in a small practical way.
Here are a few examples of everyday possibilities:
- Upon entering a room with another person, do I offer him the more comfortable chair?
- On occasion, do I offer to get a coke for someone else?
- I am on my way to a friend’s office. What if I were to show up with something unexpected?
- If I am about to go out to eat with my family, am I generally insistent on going where I want to go? What if I were to insist on going to a restaurant that another family member particularly enjoys (even though I don’t)?
In other words, what can I do that might be simply a gracious gesture?
This past weekend, our ministers and elders had a retreat at Latham Springs Camp (about 25 minutes from Waco). It was an important retreat for both our ministers and our elder group (eleven of them). We met Friday evening and Saturday morning. We have six new elders in our group so this was the first time this large group had been together.
At the conclusion of the retreat, one of the new elders approached me and put his hand out to shake mine. "I want you to know how much I appreciate the work you did in leading this retreat. This was just great! Just great!" It was a small courtesy that meant a lot to me. What meant so much was that he would think to say, "Thank you."
Maybe one of the small courtesies that I can express this week is to say "Thank you." Could it be there are some people in your world or mine who would appreciate hearing these two words? Maybe there are some people who are long overdue for a "Thank you."