Just to Say, "Thank You!"



Just to Say, "Thank You!"

From the Heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe

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No story in the Bible more movingly pictures human gratitude than the healing of ten lepers in Luke 17:12-18 . . .

And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

And when He saw them, He said unto them, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests." And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And he fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

And Jesus answering said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? They are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."

Have you too found that sometimes when a person gets what he wants, he forgets to say thank you? Throughout Jesus' ministry, He was giving examples of how we should live. He knew - as He knew all things - that only one man would return to express appreciation. Thus, Christ wanted this story of the ten lepers recorded for future generations, so that we would know the importance of giving thanks.

Give Without Expecting Thanks?

I've heard it said that we should not "expect" thanks in return for the kindnesses we show. If we don't expect it, we will never be disappointed in our fellow man. However, I believe that the attitude of being grateful and showing it is a biblical principle. Notice verse 17; it seems as if Jesus expected a "thank-you" from all ten lepers. He said, "But where are the nine?'

Jesus was showing us a practical example of Colossians 3:15, "Be ye thankful." Obviously, thanksgiving is expected of us. This is one reason mothers and fathers, while teaching their children to speak, emphasize the importance of saying "please" and "thank you."

We expect such "common" courtesies even from toddlers. Naturally, it is disconcerting when adults are ungrateful in response to God's kindnesses to them. How many of us follow the dictum of Colossians 3:15, "Be ye thankful"?

Bless the LORD, O My Soul!

In Psalm 103, we read a beautiful song of thanksgiving:

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness. . . (Psalm 103:1-6)

Notice in this text that the psalmist recalls the "benefits" of serving God, and even lists them in his song of praise. Have you ever created such a list? The little Sunday School song that I learned as a child implores us to "count your blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." When we pray and give thanks to God, let us remember all the wonderful blessings He has bestowed on us!

I want to extend my gratitude to every supporter and friend of our ministry. Thank you all, dear ones, for your financial help, prayers, letters and encouragement.

We especially thank you whose lives have been changed for your notes and letters of testimony. Jack and I have had many praise sessions because of God's word in your hearts.

The Impact of Encouragement

It would be virtually impossible to carry on this ministry to which God has called us without help and encouragement from precious friends like you. We need your encouragement: we thrive upon hearing about your triumphs and victories because God used our ministry to reach you. It is difficult to express the impact we feel as we receive hundreds of thousands of letters each year sharing such blessings. It is like a warm ray of sunshine on a cold winter's day.

At His last supper, Jesus showed us exactly how important encouragement is at the darkest hours of our life. When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved (John 13:21-23).

John could feel the Master's burdened spirit and leaned his head on Jesus to express his love and concern. John wanted to give his Lord a measure of additional strength and encouragement. This example of human love from this disciple is so beautiful that it cannot be overlooked.

I am sure Jesus absorbed a great deal of love and respect from His apostles. I do believe, however. God laid it on their hearts to be extremely compassionate and supportive of the Lord Jesus especially because of the agony which lay ahead.

The Most Important Person on Earth

Jack and I thank you for the encouragement you have been to us. May our example help you to express appreciation to special people in your life for the blessings they have been to you.

For instance, when was the last time you said "thank you" to the person you hold dearest on earth? Remember your mate is a gift from God, and the Bible teaches us to love and respect each other. Read Ephesians 5:20, 25, and 28.

Ladies, when the man in your life opens the door for you, do you say, "Thank you, sweetheart"? Gentlemen, when the lady of your dreams fixes your favorite meal, do you remember to say, "Thank you honey, that was delicious!" (You might even say "thank you" when the roast is tough, especially when you have only been married for 10 weeks!) When your son or daughter plans a surprise birthday party for you, do you give him or her a loving hug and express gratitude? Oh how important it is to be mindful to say "thank you," especially to those closest to us.

Thanks for the Memories

Parents, also, deserve our thanks. In fact, the edict to honor our father and mother is one of the Ten Commandments - and it is the first commandment with a promise. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Exodus 20:12).

I am sure that there are many people who made an infinitely important impact upon your life, but who probably are not aware of it. Perhaps there was a teacher somewhere along the line who captured your imagination and helped you to learn. Would it not be a wonderful idea to write a thank-you note telling him or her of the great contribution that they made toward the success of your career and personal life?

I heard the story of a grown man who remembered his best school teacher from years past, and sent her a letter thanking her for all she had given him and his classmates. The teacher was in her 80's now, and gratefully replied, saying: "I taught school for 50 years, and this is the first note of gratitude I have ever received!"

Likewise, your thank-you note would mean so much to someone today.

Everyday Gratitude

Most of us don't take the time to thank our pastors or Sunday School teachers or ministers of music and youth for the hours they spent studying and preparing to help us in our spiritual walk. I feel confident they would appreciate knowing you are grateful and have been blessed by their ministry.

Saying "thank-you" will also enhance your opportunities to witness for Christ. When the clerk at the supermarket is helpful, look that person right in the eye and say, "Thank you."

I know this is appreciated, because one young lady who has helped me many times at the store said to me, "You know, Rexella, you are the only customer who really looks at me, and this tells me I'm important to you." I pray she sees more than just a look, but that through my eyes she sees Someone who cares for her deeply.

Of course, we could go on and on with a list of people who deserve our thanks, but as you open your horizon of opportunities to show appreciation, let me assure you that you will experience a great sense of satisfaction in expressing it.

H.W. Beecher said, "Pride slays thanksgiving. A proud man never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In light of eternity, none of us "deserves" the many wonderful blessings which have been bestowed on us. Our sinful humanity deserves only eternal punishment.

Yet Christ in His infinite mercy provided a way of escape for us through His shed blood, and rewards us with eternal life. How can we not be thankful every moment of our lives? We did nothing to deserve all of His blessing; Christ did it all.

So there is no room for pride in our lives, and oh - so much room for thanksgiving! Let us rejoice this day and obey the command of Colossians 3:15: "Be ye thankful."

To everyone
here on earth and in heaven
Thank-you
for giving to the Lord
because I am so glad you gave!
s

3 comments:

Deborah Ann said...

Hello, this 'thank you' post really touched me. I just realized the other day I wasn't thanking God for much of anything, I could only see the negative things that we're happening. So...thank you God, for reminding me to be thankful!

You're invited to join me:

www.heavenlyhumor.blogspot.com

For some good GOD time!

Heart2Heart said...

Charlotte,

This is a great post! Too often we fail to offer thanks to our heavenly Father as well when life is going along smoothly or when prayers have been answered.

We need to go back to basics and learn to love and respect people. It will completely change their day.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

chili pepper said...

Often we remember to be grateful for the big things. I try hard to remind my children to thank God daily for the little things. And especially the things we don't like. As in the vegetables on our plate (my four year old) or the trials set before us (um that would be me.)

Kat

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