This is What Gratitude Does for Others, for God, and for You By DAVID JEREMIAH for The Stream
Depending on the time of day you are reading this article, you have probably engaged in a certain exchange several times. Perhaps at breakfast someone passed you the cream for your coffee. Later, your spouse offered to run an errand for you while you were at work. Or perhaps someone held a door open for you as you entered a building or complimented you on your appearance.
In each of those situations, and probably countless others, you likely responded with “Thank you!” That phrase is repeated innumerable times each day around the world, more often in some cultures than others. But as much as we say, “Thank you,” we probably don’t say it as often as we should. Thanks, or gratitude, has become one of those things that we somehow neglect to say.
When a friend or a stranger or a family member extends grace or favor to us, we are thanking God indirectly when we thank them directly.
What does not saying, “Thank you,” suggest? It suggests that we are taking blessings and favor for granted. It suggests that we think people are obligated to pass us the cream, run an errand, hold the door, or compliment our appearance. It suggests that we think people are obligated to be nice to us without us being obligated to be nice in return.
And here is an even greater danger: We begin to feel that God is obligated to bless us without us blessing (thanking) Him in return. That is a dangerous mindset to have when it comes to our relationships with other people and with Him.
Giving Back What We’ve Been Given
In fact, let me suggest this: Being ungrateful to others ultimately reflects a lack of gratitude to God. We shouldn’t want to be ungrateful people.
When King David led the leaders of Israel in giving money for the building of the first temple in Jerusalem, he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving after the money was given (1 Chronicles 29:10-19). In that prayer, he said this to God: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.”