Think Before You Thank

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One time I felt that God was asking me the question, John, just how thankful are you? It was after an extended period of praying for a specific answer to a specific request and when the answer finally came I said ‘thank you’. Except I noticed that my ‘thank you’ was not nearly as sincere or impassioned as my request and suddenly I found myself faced with the question ‘Just how thankful are you?’ How would you answer that question for yourself?

*A lifeguard once reported that, while over the course of his career, he had rescued 223 people from drowning, only three of them ever thanked him

*A radio personality who spent his days connecting employers with potential employees, said that he found jobs for over 2500 people. He only remembered ten who ever made any effort to thank him

*An official of the post office, in charge of the Dead Letter Box in Washington D.C., reported one year that his office had received hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to “Santa Clause” asking for many things, but after Christmas, only one letter of thanks, according to this postal official, ever arrived in that same box.

I would venture to say that we have felt unexpressed appreciation. As a matter of fact, I think its pretty fair to say that it is a characteristic of the world we live in.

People have forgotten how to say ‘thank you’ and mean it.

They have forgotten to be grateful for the blessings in their live.

We truly have a lot to be thankful for yet, for some reason those two little words, “THANK YOU” can be conspicuously lacking from our vocabularies sometimes.

Jesus shares a glimpse of this in the story of Luke about the lepers. Ten lepers came to see Jesus and ask for mercy. They ask for a miracle – Luke 17:15-17. He healed all ten that asked him but only one came back to ‘thank him’ fully and fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet. And he was a Samaritan. He even asked, “didn’t I just heal 10 with this disease? He of course knew the answer. He was just making a point.

Did you know that our English word thanks, comes from the same root word as the word think. So, thinking and thanking come from the same root word! In other words, they share a common origin. To me the connection is simple, thanking requires thinking. And if you take time to think things through, then thinking will lead to thanking.




Maybe the reason why it’s so easy for us to forget to say thank you is because it’s so easy to forget to think. Think about all the blessings and answered prayers that have been given to us.

Thanking is very important to God. In this passage when the one leper came back to say thank you – Jesus specifically asks about the other nine.

When you truly take time to really think about it – we do have a lot to be thankful for and we have many people to say thank you to as well. If we are not thankful it is not because we lack good reasons – it is because we lack clear thinking.

Tomorrow when you wake up, think and ask yourself:

  1.  What do I have to be thankful for?
  2.  Who do I have to be thankful for?

And make sure every day to say thank you to God, and others for their impact on our lives. See what it does for your attitude, your outlook on life, and the impact on the people around you. You never know – this may turn out to be one of the most meaningful holiday seasons of your life! That is how powerful thankfulness can be in our life, relationships and world.

After all it is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy!

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