Recently I was standing in a fast food restaurant waiting for my carry out order. As I did so I became aware of people coming and going with their food. Over a period of some 10 – 15 minutes as I waited at no time did anyone say “thank you” to the person who served them. I was shocked.
A few weeks later I was the photographer at a charity event in Cluj Romania. Before the event started I saw a distinguished man get out of his seat and walk towards me. He proceed to thank me profusely for taking the time to be there. At the end of the event a younger man approached me and shook my hand again offering his sincere thanks. I was taken aback as I did not know either of them. I later discovered that they were father and son and two of the most successful businessmen in the city. The older man I learned had, under the communist regime, been a poor man – and although now very wealthy had obviously never lost his sense of gratitude – a gift he had apparently passed on to his son. Their attitude of thankfulness was not only gratifying personally but also an example to me.
I think that, to a large degree, at least in the West, we have lost our sense of gratitude and even our manners! Sadly what is true of our world in general is also true in the church. I personally believe the words “thank you” are the two most important words in our vocabulary!
This is not only a personal bugbear but, I believe, one that is rooted firmly in the being of God. There was a time in the history of God’s people during which he became tired of their formality and religious duty, stating –
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.”
“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.”
Psalm 50: 14 & 23
It is not only interesting but also very instructive to note that the thing which marked another great businessman of his generation was that –
“He prayed three times a day .. giving thanks to his God.”
Daniels prayer life as well as his life in general was marked by a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness. I think all of us need to take note of this – and apply it to our own lives. We should also take care to verbalise our thanks – first of all to God – but also and always to others – for thanksgiving will be the theme of heaven! And in the eternal day we will join with those John saw in his revelation who repeat –
“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.”