As a child I learned two “magic” phrases; “Please!” and “Thank you!” They’re called “magic” because of the amazing impact they have on others. When authentically used in conversations, and consistently (and sincerely) used in relationships, they become an incredible life lubricant. They make all of our interactions better.
Maybe it’s the “old school” training in me, but it seems that these words are being used less and less in our culture. Recently I mentioned to my wife how seldom I hear “thank you” after a store purchase. In fact, I can only recall one incident in the last couple of months where a business owner or retail employee actually said “thank you” after a transaction! More often than not, I’m the one saying “thank you.”
The lack of spoken appreciation is a symptom of a deeper issue — the lack of heart appreciation. What we say or fail to say is an indication of what’s present or not present in the heart. If the heart is unappreciative, self-consumed, and steeped in an attitude of entitlement, our words, or lack thereof, will reflect the same.
I regularly watch as people receive blessings, benefits, opportunities, platforms, and privileges, and then act disrespectfully or dismissively toward those who provided them. Ingratitude seems to be “trending!”
Paul, the apostle, warned about this. When writing to Timothy he commented on the increasing lack of gratitude in the world as we head toward the end of time as we know it:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, UNGRATEFUL, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good … – 2 Timothy 3:1-3 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
Among all the disturbing trends that come with the “last days,” Paul identified a lack of thanksgiving! As we march toward the last of the last days, one of the spreading spiritual diseases is ingratitude. It will dominate world culture.
But it doesn’t have to dominate your culture! You can guard against it. You can overcome it. You can be different! How? The three “C’s”:
- Count your blessings.
Stop and think about all the good things in your life. Stop cataloging what you don’t have and begin counting what you do have!
- Consider the sources.
Think about the sources of your blessings, benefits, opportunities, platforms and privileges. Who is the supplier? Who has helped you get to where you are today? Who has sacrificed and assisted you in your journey? Obviously, the primary Source is God! Put Him first on your gratitude list! Then think about all the others who have contributed to the good in your life. Move beyond the “what” of your blessings to “who” is behind your blessings!
- Communicate your appreciation.
Thanks is not thanks until it’s given! Who do you need to say “thank you” to? Who do you need to express appreciation for? Notice the “say” and “express!” Don’t just think it, do it. Start with God! Tell Him “Thank you!” And tell some others too!
Go against the grain of the world and say “Thanks!”