“TENK U VERRY MAACH” were the words of a little boy as his eyes twinkled with excitement when a local TV station went to their school to distribute school supplies. My husband and I find this very cute that every time this scene is flashed during morning news we couldn’t help but laugh… and throughout the day we would mimic him as we put very strong emphasis on the “MAAACH” and would laugh at ourselves.
Deep inside though, we are in awe and our hearts are full of admiration for this cute little boy… for at a very young age, he knows how to express his gratitude. I feel joy in my heart whenever I see him onscreen but sad at the same time to find people even much older who find it difficult to utter these simple words, “Thank you”.
Well, have you discovered that gratitude – learning to express appreciation by saying “Thank you,” is a habit that must be learned? Unfortunately, there’s something about our nature that makes gratitude difficult to express.
Often, we are grateful but don’t take time to express our gratitude. Perhaps we just assume that someone knows what he or she did, so we don’t make the effort to write a note, to make a phone call or say thanks in person.
“Gratitude”, wrote L. R. Akers, “has been called the memory of the heart. A heart without gratitude is like a grate filled with fuel unlighted, a cold and dead thing. A cardinal sin of our modern life is ingratitude.”
EXPRESSING GRATITUDE IS AN OBLIGATION
I believe that it is our obligation to express our gratitude.
To whom do we owe gratitude? First to God. Second, to our parents and third, to the people who have helped us and who have been with us in our journey through life – teachers, neighbors, career mentors, friends among others. Always remember that no one is self-made.
You are… where you are now because of your parents or because of someone, somewhere who helped you along the way.
Our first obligation of gratitude is to God.
“Do not be anxious about anything but everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” – Philippians 4:6-8
Bowing our heads to thank Him for our food is one sign of gratitude. Gratitude also involves giving rather than receiving. Christ gave us an example of this when He “took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” – Matthew 15:36
On another occasion, Christ healed ten lepers, yet only one came back to express his appreciation. Too often, we are like the nine other lepers. God answers our prayers. He meets our needs. He understands on our behalf, and we go merrily along our own way, never stopping to express our gratitude to Him.
We must know that feeling and expressing appreciation is good for us. Like any wise father, God wants us to learn to be thankful for all the gifts He has given us. Giving thanks also reminds us of how much we have. Human beings are prone to covetousness. We tend to focus on things we don’t have. When we focus on blessings rather than wants, we become happier because then… we feel more satisfied with what we have.
When we start thanking God for the things we usually take for granted, our perspective changes. We realize we could not even exist without the merciful blessings of God.
Thankfulness keeps our hearts in right relationship to the Giver of all good gifts.
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:4-5
Our second obligation of gratitude is to our parents
Our parents are God’s instruments in giving us life. Whether or not they are the kind of parents we wanted to have and whether or not they been good to us, they are still our parents and we have the obligation to be grateful to them because we would not be here on Earth without them.
Our parents are God’s stewards of His children – us . We would not be where we are today if not for our parents. And there is no better way to show our gratitude than by consistently showing them our unconditional love and care especially in their twilight years.
Our third obligation of gratitude is to those who have helped us and to those who generously share their blessings to us.
Some people may think this is not an obligation… but to me, it is. For I believe that saying a sincere thank you is but an easy task that no one cannot have any excuse not to say it.
We should also remember to express our gratitude to those who provide us their services like helpers, cooks, drivers, garbage collectors, mailman among others. We meet these people day-to-day and sometimes we forget to express our appreciation for their efforts.
Bear in mind that the gratitude and appreciation that we express is never lost, it is kept in the hearts of others.
And who says that’s all there is to it? There’s even a bigger BONUS!…Have you discovered that the more you express your gratitude the more blessings you receive? Studies show that being able to recognize our blessings and express our gratitude are two of the most critical factors when it comes to living a truly joyous life - the more gratitude we show, the more blessings we can welcome into our lives.
Here are three simple ways where we can express our gratitude that surprisingly can also make us a blessing magnet.
1. Be Thankful for Little Things: Quite often, the sweetest blessings come in the smallest forms. Learning to recognize those small things – a friend who called or stopped by just to check if you’re okay, someone who offered you a seat on a crowded room or bus, or the car door opened for you by your child or hubby.
These are small things but every time we appreciate them by saying “Thank you”, the more good things that come our way and the more we feel love and joy in our hearts. Being thankful of the little things in our lives is a great way of improving the quality of our day-to-day existence.
2. Give To Those In Need: It is easy to forget how well-off most of us really are. To forget being thankful for our soft bed, the roof over our heads and the food we eat each day. Taking time to be thankful for all the comforts we take for granted can make it easier to reach out for people who have much less.
Many times, I have experienced giving even when I had little left on my wallet and always end up being amazed how it comes back to me a thousandfold. Thus, “JUST SHARE, MORE WILL RETURN”, has become my motto and my husband’s as well.
3. Do Unto Others: When we are genuinely happy with ourselves and our lives it is much easier to treat others kindly. And still, it’s important to make time to be considerate no matter how we’re feeling – picking up something someone has dropped, looking the person in the eye and saying a heartfelt thank you when they have helped you with something.
This goes back to “being thankful for little things”. It’s possible for us to be instigator of those little things in someone’s life.
After all, our own happiness is magnified when we do something nice to others. Isn’t that a wonderful blessing?
Why we become a blessing magnet when we express our gratitude is clearly seen in the Bible, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. The service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11-12
Finally, let us remind ourselves that a person who expresses gratitude is a sign of a man who is at peace with himself and his world. A man who has a peaceful and humble heart is a man who conveys appreciation to God for the blessings he receives and is always thankful to those who have helped him.
So then, push your positive mindset to greater heights and make each day your own personal day of thanksgiving and watch how bountiful blessings come into your life.
After all, gratitude is an oil to the machinery of life, the man who thinks is a man who thanks.