With the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at some words or phrases we use in conjunction with family gatherings. For my first table scrap, I chose the words “thank you.”
It would be interesting to count the number of times the expression was used on a given occasion. Would we be pleased at the number of times the words were used, or surprised by its misuse? Some table conversation:
“…Can somebody pass me the potatoes?”
“Here you go, Timmy,” aunt Sandy replies.
“What do you say, Timmy?”
“M-o-m,” Timmy whined. “Okay, okay – thank you.”
“…I was at Sears the other day and they had this display of perfume samples on the counter. You know, the ones in that sultry commercial with the race-car driver. Well, I snatched up some of those freebies, thank you very much…”
“…Our neighbor must not be doing well. He never made it outside this year to rake up his leaves. The boys and I went over to get his leaves under control. His _____ leaves keep blowing in our yard. You would think the least he could do is come outside to say thank you.”
Saying, “thank you” implies you are grateful for receiving something. Our thanks are directed towards someone besides ourselves, hence the word “you.” As a child I was reminded at every turn to say, “thank you.” After a while it became a habit and now I do it many times without even thinking. For many of us it has become more of a reflex, like having your knee tapped by a rubber hammer at the doctor’s office.
I am a person who believes in prayer and prays constantly for God’s blessing. Sometimes it’s for help, healing, protection, understanding, wisdom, mercy… (the list is long and never-ending). How many times have I forgotten to simply say, “thank you” when even the smallest prayer is answered?
The next time you use the words “thank you” consider the following:
- Have I considered what it may have cost someone, in time, money or inconvenience to satisfy my need, want, or desire?
- How appreciative am I really?
- Why exactly am I thankful?
- Does my expression of thankfulness compel me to act differently?
- Has my thankfulness changed me somehow, making me less selfish or cynical?
- Are there more things in my life that I should be thankful for?
- Who else should I be thanking?
- While being thankful, have I ever lingered in a moment of gratitude? If so, has it made me see life as being more precious somehow?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 ESV