Unexpressed Gratitude


See how many opportunities you can find to say an authentic thank you. If there’s someone you’ve been meaning to send a note to or call, do it this week.

“Thank you very much!” It slides off our tongues like butter. But have you noticed your reaction when you do something for someone, like let them in front of you or pick something up for them and they say . . . nothing? Don’t even acknowledge your kindness? It feels . . . well, it’s irritating. Gratitude carries weight. Watch your reaction when you say thank you to someone and they don’t acknowledge it. Andy Stanley teaches this principle: unexpressed gratitude feels like ingratitude. Nothing chaps us like ingratitude. Even though we might not have done the ‘thing’ expecting a ‘thank you,’ there’s a vacuum when one doesn’t come. We feel unappreciated, taken for granted and even angry when our efforts toward kindness aren’t acknowledged.

There are folks who expect thank you’s for everything they do, including things normal people wouldn’t expect to be thanked for.  We have a relative that sends cards. Cards for every occasion and some occasions that aren’t occasions. She honestly expects a “thank you” note for the card(s) she sends. A little weird. But I worry more about failing to say “thanks” for the things people do. It’s so easy to run right by the waiter or waitress who goes out of their way to remember your name. I can imagine the bright spot in their day when someone says “. . . and thank you for remembering my name. I truly appreciate you doing that.” The person who voluntarily slides over to make room for you in church. The teacher who writes a special note to your daughter congratulating her on a great test score. Little things all, but things that when they’re rewarded, get repeated. Our gratitude multiplies into others’ lives. We can make our communities kinder, gentler places to live expressing gratitude all around.

One of my young friends just surrendered to Jesus. He’s brand new at this “walking with God” stuff. “What do I do?” “What do I say?” he asks. “You tell me that having God in my daily life is more than a 15 minute “quiet time” in the morning. Help me out here.” My advice? Say “Thank You, Lord!” All day long. Over and over. “Thank You God for loving me. Thank You Lord for saving me. Thank You for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay for my sins. Thank You for giving me peace about death and confidence about heaven. Thank You Lord for my life, my wife, my health, my future. Thank You for just listening to me, for being here with me, for making Yourself available.”

Gratitude is the only sure cure for anxiety, and nothing develops an attitude of gratitude like thanking God for everything. Big things. Little things. Hard things. Easy things. Everything. It’s Monday . . . a great time to declare “Gratitude Week.” Starting now, see how many opportunities you can find to say an authentic thank you. If there’s someone you’ve been meaning to send a note to or call, do it this week. Make this the beginning of a more grateful heart . . . one that doesn’t just think it but expresses it.

Scripture: Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:3-5)

Mentor Tip: As you kick off your next time together, thank God for the guys He has given you. Notice how Jesus prayed a similar prayer in John 17 when He thanked God for His disciples, “I have revealed Your name to those You have given me out of the world.” You have exactly the right guys in your group. Trust God in that. He gave them to you. Love and serve them.

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