Robert and Maureen McQuillan share on the importance and value of being thankful…
As mentioned in our earlier Encouragement (https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/07/11/time-a-wasting-seize-the-day/) on July 7 we celebrated our 55th wedding Anny. We had a great day, as mentioned on Facebook!
We thanked each other for a wonderful lifetime together built on love, openness, understanding, respect, trust, faith, believing prayer and, of course, long-term commitment.
And we especially thanked God for each other, for all that he has done of us, enabling us to achieve much in life, and also graciously assisting us to use our abilities, skills and experiences to bless others and assist in building the kingdom.
Some things we did that day included going to a local morning opera – the brilliant La Prima Opera – Encore, then down the coast to a superb celebratory luncheon in Terindah Estate where we were hosted in a special celebratory way, and later back home relaxing over the delightful 1995 romantic drama, A Walk in the Clouds.
But something else, leading to this blog
First up we had collected our ‘old’ 2001 car after its service and new tyres fitted by good mechanic friend, Andrew. Despite the day being overcast with heavy rain falling, our vehicle went like the proverbial dream and we felt so safe and secure travelling along the busy, wet roads.
Andrew, in applying his skills to ensure our car was running well, had also added to our celebratory day. So, although one could say, ‘Well, he was doing his job: you paid him and thanked him’ – we made a point of thanking him again.
We phoned to compliment him with ‘What have you done to our car?’ and before he thought something was wrong, added: ‘It’s running like a new vehicle, like a dream!’ Surprised, he humbly said, ‘That’s good to know. It was my pleasure.’
For the record, our ‘minder friend’ – another Andrew (good biblical name!) – had even kindly chauffeured us to the garage. He too was thanked!
‘Thanks’ is an expression of gratitude
It seems that many people have forgotten how to say ‘Thank you’ – and to do so a second time on occasions, even though they may have paid for services done.
English speaking people are renown for being courteous and polite, especially in always, always , always saying, ‘Thank you’ when something is done for us,
‘Thank you’ derives from ‘think’ indicating ‘I’ll remember what you did for me.’ This is not so with every culture, whereas if we did something for someone and they didn’t say, ‘Thanks!’ immediately, we would consider them rude or to have bad manners. Saying ‘Thanks’ is something we teach children early in life.
The challenge here is that Christians especially should be thoughtfully grateful and express gratitude when someone – anyone – does something for us, no matter what it may be… big or small, expected or unexpected.
Actually ‘thanking’ and ‘thanks’ are mentioned a lot throughout scripture … it’s a God thing! A remembrance that we owe him so much for all that he has done and is doing for us, either directly or through others. And for others in response to our prayers and hopes for them.
In both Old and New Testaments, ‘thanks’ means ‘being grateful, to express gratitude.’ This is more than just being polite or giving thanks when we’re about to partake of a meal (‘saying Grace’). It’s a constant awareness that every day born again Christians have so much to thank God for that we must never forget to express our thanks.
A quickly breathed ‘Thank you, Lord, for …’ or longer expressions in remembrance of things previously done or he is doing for us are important expressions to the God who loves and unceasingly cares.
A ‘thank you’ to others goes a long way
Paul expressed his thanks not only to God for all he did but to others, for example 2Timothy 1:3Mge: ‘Every time I say your name in prayer – which is practically all the time – I thank God for you.’
The apostle didn’t forget people – neither should we, especially those to whom we owe a lot!
Many Christians are careless in this respect. Often those who readily help others don’t hear back how things have turned out! Sound familiar?
It’s often much later – and through others – that one learns counsel was taken, prayers were answered, wonderful things happened including healings and miracles, new employment gained, a new lifestyle begun, outrageous expenses avoided, finances saved, marriages restored and so on.
But not that expected word of thanks! It’s as if one is being treated like a servant who has merely done what was expected of him or her. Even Jesus pointed this out in Luke 17:9Mge, ‘Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him?’
Now that’s okay as all glory goes to the Lord, not us. One realises that our Christian attitude mustn’t be critical but the one Jesus emphasised: ‘It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, “The work is done. What we were told to do, we did”’ (v10).
Saying thank you demonstrates a good attitude
The forgetfulness of others reminds us of an old Irish saying: ‘Eaten bread is soon forgotten.’ The general meaning is: ‘Kind deeds or favours are often forgotten by the beneficiary/beneficiaries once they have been done.’
It’s a saying often quoted in either anger, disappointment, bitterness or resentment. People – even ministers – so easily forget those who have been so faithful, willing to help, and loyal even when they don’t understand what’s going down. And this is so sad!
Paul, highlighting in Romans 12 what’s been called the motivational gifts of the Spirit, points out serving (diakonio) others is a (charisma) ministry gift and encourages, ‘If your gift is serving others, serve them well’ (v 7NLT). Another reminder of the ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people’ (Col. 3:23GNB) principle.
Yet we must be aware that it’s been noted that servants themselves have a built-in need – a meaningful pat on the back! Unfortunately, they don’t always get this and it can be a problem.
Personally we make a point of thanking everyone that serves, whether checkout attenders or high-rankers. We particularly most sincerely thank those who again and again show that they’re really there for us, both in ministry, ministry support through prayers and in general matters.
And most importantly, Jesus, the one who became the servant king (Php. 2:7; John 13:4-17) … our own talking with God every morning begins with gratification for what he’s done for us – a ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one’ prayer. Similarly our evening prayer includes thanks for all he’s done that day.
And … hubbies especially, do note…Back to our anniversary, I regularly thank Maureen for the amazing various things she does for me (She thanks me too of course). Nothing is taken for granted!
Think tank and endnote encouragement – As Jesus said in John 13:17NLT, ‘Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.’
(Scripture emphases ours)
Thank you, Robert and Maureen, for this reminder of the importance and value of being thankful, in small things as much as the large, too true, often it is a ‘grace’ we overlook. People do better, I believe, with encouragement and your encouragement over many years is a constant source of thankfulness for me and the many others who will have benefited from your Spirit-led counsel — thank you!