Written Word

As a Christian, I should be grateful, thanking others

The efforts of good workers in the kingdom of God can be hindered by ingratitude. The enthusiasm to serve can be dampened by a lack of appreciation and the absence of a “thank you” can wear down the most diligent saint. Let’s apply this to your congregation. Much is done within your church family: the building is kept clean; the communion emblems are prepared; the hymns are chosen; committed people teach Bible classes to infants, teenagers and adults every week moulding their lives for the future; there are people who watch out for your spiritual life; there are special people in your church who are always doing lovely things for others in the name of Jesus; someone takes care of the finances, buys the presentations, the greeting cards, arranges menus for church functions, maintains the church web site, visits sick members, phones to check on an absent member, provides hospitality, etc. The list is endless. Do you ever thank these people or are they just taken for granted?

Although we know we are serving God by serving other people, we are encouraged in our service when it is acknowledged by those we serve or by others who take the time to encourage us. Jesus was a great encourager, as was the apostle Paul, who often included in his writings lists of people he wanted to encourage and who encouraged him in his ministry.

The story of Jesus healing the ten lepers is well known (Luke 17:11-19), but I think most of us remember the story, not because ten lepers were healed, but because nine never thanked Jesus. No doubt about it, the lepers were overjoyed at being healed. No longer would they be treated as outcasts in society. No more would they have to ring their bell announcing their arrival, thereby giving people time to get out of the way. They would be reinstated in society and enjoy free movement where once restrictions existed. And they would now have the sheer pleasure of being hugged by someone other than a fellow leper. Even the simple gesture of shaking hands would now be possible. Of course they were delighted to be whole again, yet nine never returned to say, “Thank you”. Maybe they had the attitude: “It’s obvious Jesus knows we are grateful. He saw the delight on our faces when he healed us. How could he not know that we are profoundly grateful for what he has done for us?” But what Jesus did know is that nine never personally thanked him, and he had his reaction recorded in the Bible.

Each week you are served by servants in your church. These are the people who keep the life of the church functioning by volunteering many hours to the cause of Christ and his people. If you are not careful you might realise that you, like the nine lepers, never personally say, “Thank you”. Jesus expected the nine lepers to express their gratitude. As his followers we need to express our gratitude, not only to God for all he does for us, but to all his people who serve us in so many ways.