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Just to Say, “Thank You!”

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, ëJesus, Master, have mercy on
us.í

And when He saw them, He said unto
them, ëGo shew yourselves unto the priests.í
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, ëWere there not
ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There
are not found that returned to give glory to
God, save this stranger.í”

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 loving kindness 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!

A Chocolate Remembrance

It was my special joy to meet and fellowship
with the many friends who came to our open
house at our JVI Headquarters. What a
pleasure it was to hear so many of them say,
“Thank you” to Dr. Van Impe and me during
that great day of celebration.

Some of our friends even surprised us with
special presents. I’ll never forget, one beautiful
little girl, maybe seven years of age, with her
big eyes glowing, handed me a box of candy
and said, “We remembered that your husband
likes chocolates.” I reached down, embraced
her, and said, “Thank you, sweetheart.”

Since we are unable to write thank-you
notes to everyone who came to our open
house or brought gifts, I would like, in this
open forum, to thank everyone for their
thoughtfulness, love and generosity.

But let me go one step beyond thanking our
wonderful guests who came to visit us. Let me
also 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, ëVerily, verily, I say unto you, that
one of you shall betray me.í 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 5:20,25,28.

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 whocares
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.”

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