An Attitude of Gratitude
I have heard it said that people are quick to say please but slow to say thank you. We know what we want, but after we receive it, it is easy to forget to thank the one who helped us achieve our goal. We are all primarily interested in our own lives, our own needs and wants. This isn’t unexpected since we all need to be our own advocates. However, when self-advocacy slips over the edge to self-centeredness, something else happens. We begin to polarize our views and see the world through just our own lens.
Jesus had some things to say about this in the story of the cleansing of the ten lepers. The lepers asked Jesus for mercy. He told them to see the priests and they were cleansed. Nine of them went on their way without saying anything to Jesus. The tenth person, a Samaritan, praised God in a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’s feet and thanked him. Jesus noted that the nine showed no gratitude, while the foreigner gave thanks. Jesus said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
In our church, I hear “thank you” a lot, and it shows that our mindset is not just on ourselves, but also on our friends and neighbors who help us in many ways. Whether it is a card when we’re ill, a thank you for a job well done, or a statement of love or appreciation to someone just because of who they are, we all like to be recognized and thanked.
The thing about an attitude of gratitude is that it forces us to look beyond our self-centeredness to the needs of others. When we say please, we are asking God for help in some way. When we say thank you, we are acknowledging God’s greatness and blessings in our lives.
As we have just been reminded in this Easter season, God gave us a gift in the form of a son that sacrificed himself for us. That gift is at the root of our faith and it also something for which we should continually say, “thank you God.” One of the ways we can to this is to have an attitude that reaches out beyond “please” to say sincere “thank you” sincerely and often. The more we reach outward and the less we reach inward, the better we will feel and the closer we will come to leading lives as God wants us to.
May the peace of Christ be with you,
David Cochran, VP of Consistory
Open the April 2016 Beacon to read notes of thanks and various ways that we’re living out our mission as a church!