THE SPIRITUALITY OF THANK YOU
by emmanuel iweha
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THE SPIRITUALITY OF THANK YOU
All scripture quotes are from the King James Version of the Bible except otherwise stated.
Thank you is one of those word combination that society generally views as something that works to favor the norms of cultures every where. It is encouraged in kids and is one of those things that are considered to be critical in the social nature of the human race. Thank you implies politeness and proper conduct. It is civil and positively viewed as being friendly. Thank you goes beyond this. We want to look at the spirituality of these two words when combined together. That is, what it implies as far you, the next person and God are all concerned.
“were it not ten people that were healed yet only this Samaritan came to give God glory?” Luke 10:10
Only one came back to say thank you. We want to look at the spirituality of these two words when they are combined together. Their social importance is inculcated from childhood. So much so that the average person naturally associates negativity with it when it is lacking or when it is not said when it should be said. The person that it is not said to presumes this of the person that should have said it and the person that didn’t say it recognizes this negativity of his or her own person. So at the most basic and natural level, thank you is a social tool that establishes some form of recognition between all the parties involved in that place where it was or wasn’t said. The recognition may be positive or negative and has a way of leaving a character image of the people concerned to each other.
However, the general knowledge about its importance as a social tool is only equaled by the profound ignorance displayed when it comes to its spiritual import. This is further highlighted as being all the more ignoble when seen in the light of the commonality or simplicity of the aforementioned knowledge. That is, the spirituality of the words ‘thank you’ is meant to be as common a knowledge as the social aspect is of those same words. Or just as man has come to deduce or imply or know so much about the words ‘thank you’ when it comes to the social aspect, so also man but most especially the Christian should know as much if not more of the spirituality of those same words.
We are not talking about being grateful. That is part of the social aspect of the word ‘thank you’. We pick on gratitude here because when we bring up the words ‘thank you’ and place it side by side with the scripture above, one might naturally begin to think that the spirituality we are talking about has to do with gratitude or giving glory to God as Christians. This is not what we are talking about and the unfortunate thing here is that we view ‘thank you’ or even gratitude to God in the mind of the social man i.e. how we view showing gratitude or saying thank you to the next human being. They are completely different and we don’t want to look at gratitude to God here but just those two words ‘thank you’ and their spiritual implication.
We want to look at how God views thank you any time you say it and what it provokes in Him. It is not even the word provoke that we should use here but demand. That is, any time you say ‘thank you’ it places a demand on God, a challenge that he can’t but respond to or He will be failing in something that is cardinal to His Person and character. This is the spirituality we are talking about. And it is not just when you say thank you but when it is said to you also. They both place a demand on a critical aspect of God’s Person that compels Him to respond in order to stay true to that aspect or character or nature.
We know that there are aspects of God that He doesn’t toy with. When he said;
‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy on’ Romans 10:10
This in essence showed us something about His mercy i.e. an aspect or nature of Him that He is committed to being true to. When He told Abram
‘in blessing will I bless you’ Romans 10:10
the scripture says in another place that He swore with His own name because there was nothing greater that he could use to show to Abraham that He meant to do what He was saying at that point in time, this is also an aspect of God.
So there are many aspects of God that makes Him consistent or makes Him who He is.
“I am that I am” Exodus 2:10
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 12:13
The words ‘thank you’ provokes or places a demand on another aspect of God that He can’t but respond to. But before we look at what it provokes, we have to state here the only condition that is necessary for one to tap into this blessing that is there for the taking.
The condition is that the ‘thank you’ has got to be genuine and unsolicited for. Genuine in the sense that it must come from the heart and be meant not as some kind of little chatter or niceties, but as something one truly means at that point it time. Spirituality always demand its on definitions and that definition must be scriptural as against what any dictionary would say or the average person on the street would affirm. For instance, adultery or fornication by dictionary definition is when one commits a sexual act with someone that is not a spouse to that person. But the scripture defines it as being when you lust after a person in your heart. You have to kill to be a murderer by the dictionary definition but with scripture, all you have to do is hate .
So genuine ‘thank you’ has a definition that is aside from appreciating a person for opening the door or just being civil. You may say thank you in such cases and really mean it but that is not what we are talking about. When you scream for help and somebody comes and actually provides that help that person has done something that you would have otherwise been unable to do. Genuine ‘thank you’ comes out of a need that you couldn’t meet even if you wanted to. We are not saying you don’t mean the ‘thank you’ that you say every now and then especially when someone shows a bit of chivalry or does something civil and proper, but if you could do that thing anyway, what then has been done? Nothing in essence has been done i.e. spiritually speaking.
“ we are unprofitable…..for we have only done what we have been asked to do” Mathew 10:10
“if a man ask you to go with him for one mile, go two; then you will truly be sons and daughters of your Father on high who causeth His rain to fall on both the wicked and the righteous alike” Mathew 10:10
Now we are still going some where, but a genuine thank you comes about out of a need that is met that the person that said the thank you could not have been able to meet even if he or she wanted to. That is, at that point in time you have provided an indelible service to that person so much so that the ‘thank you’ is just a fall out of the over flow of gratitude and relief that is coming out of that person. When was the last time you heard or felt that kind of thank you?
The other aspect of this one condition is that you should not walk in the spirit of the crooked or unrighteous servant whose master told him to give account or reconcile his accounts because he was about being relieved of his job. The scripture says that he went on to do favors for his master’s debtors so that he by ingratiating himself with them would put them in a stead where they would be compelled to show their gratitude . This is the kind of work place spirit many adopt that you should best avoid if you want to place the demand on God we are talking about.
“And God said to Abraham I am your exceedingly great reward”Genesis 10:10
We are really getting closer home. Abraham did something that caused him to ‘receive’ a thank you from the king of Sodom that placed a demand on that very aspect of God we are talking about.
There are so many things to say from this scripture as it concerns what we are talking about but we don’t want to go ahead of ourselves.
Sticking to the initial reason we brought this portion of scripture up; don’t be like some who know how to extricate favors from people. What the servant was after was enforced ‘thank you’. And he got what he was after. This is the kind of thank you one gets in the place of work as it has to do with many who work or show commitment because of what they expect to get in terms of bonuses or promotion or what have you. And the issue of the work place is so convoluted that every body knows this i.e. both the employer and the employee and like someone going to meet a harlot, every one is down with it. So the worker works to get his ‘thank you’ which the employee encourages and in the social and economic world, it is acceptable. But when you do this or do something to get something, the thank you get is not even recognized in heaven.
“do not be like the Pharisee..who do …to receive the praise of men…they have gotten their reward"
“..who love the honor of men rather than God”Luke 10:10
The next thing about that same scripture of Abraham was that the king of Sodom really said thank you or Abraham by refusing the earthly show of appreciation and not taking his reward in terms of the spoils of war from the King was in effect just taking the verbal heart felt thank you. Now did the man say thank you? The answer is no but the spiritual truth is that he didn’t have to say it for it to scripturally fall under the scriptural definition of a thank you. A need was met or provided by Abraham that that man could not meet by himself in any stretch of the imagination. Abraham now cemented this by refusing to take anything from the man besides the gratitude or thank you recognized and heard in heaven. Remember that you should do good things without expecting any thing in return? Any time you do this a thank you has been said by that person, whether he or she opens his or her mouth or not and it has been heard in heaven.
The final thing we want to pick from this scripture is that God then responded and this is where we are going. That is, once you fulfill the condition of a genuine thank you, God can’t but respond. But what aspect of God is really provoked to respond or what nature of God is that demand placed upon that He can’t but reply in Kind? The answer is The Word. Let’s look at The Word that God can’t but respond to when someone tells you a genuine thank you and you fulfilling the condition.
“He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord and he shall repay him” Proverbs 10:0
God will never owe any man. He that says ‘owe no man nothing but to love him’ will not go against His Word.
“or who has lendeth to the Lord that he will not repay him?” Romans 7:10
There are a couple of scriptures to pick from of God paying people back because He won’t owe any one. But let us establish first that any time someone tells you a genuine ‘thank you’ it translates to God owing you.
Any body that says a genuine thank you at that point in time is poor because by the definition we have looked at earlier, such a person could not do anything at that point in time to help his or her self. Genuine thank you comes from genuine need that could not be met by the person that then went on to say thank you because you met that need. This is why any body that helps the poor, the needy or any body who at that point in time couldn’t do that thing, whether it is to press the button in the elevator or can’t afford shelter has placed a demand on God’s nature not to owe any man.
Every thing belongs to God, even the poor and the needy. Anytime you ‘receive’ a genuine thank you, you have just done something for someone who would not have been able to do that thing and God steps in because you have done that thing to and for Him and He is able to pay you.
This is why Jesus enjoined us to show kindness to those who won’t be able to respond in kind or pay us back. We can see the underlying reason because it would provoke God who is able to pay us back to do so. On the empirical side, anything we do towards God will get us a repayment because He is able to pay us back. So with men, get them to say thank you rather than pay you and you would have placed a demand on God who gives with such liberality that all He has to do is open a window and the blessings that will come forth can overwhelm you.
This also means that the thank you that you say to people is a doorway for their blessings. Your thank you therefore is precious because it can change lives. Don’t water it down or make it loose it spiritual significance. You know you can by just stopping at the niceties and mouthing it freely. Your thank you can turn the life of that person around.
I know my words are blessed. My good morning, good bye, have a lovely day, I’m sorry, and thank you. They are all instrument of blessings so I don’t toy or joke with them. I don’t allow any one to abuse it or emotionally blackmail me into watering it down by just throwing it around anyhow and making it cheap. And I want to help by God’s definition of help. I want to hear thank you and receive the blessing in that thank you in its spiritual genuineness.
When you do such undeserving good or provide help to those who can’t help themselves or don’t know that they can’t help themselves, you are placing a demand on God’s nature to repay debts owed. And remember that the person doesn’t have to say thank you for it to be heard in heaven and a response giving. Don’t even be shocked when you get abuse rather than thank you. It really doesn’t matter what the person says as long as God hears the thank you. Jesus did not hear thank you from those he provided a need that they couldn’t provide for themselves (i.e. us all). He even received curses, abuse, betrayals and beatings but the whole of heaven heard the thank you. Each lash, each stone, each spittle, the jeering, the mockery, the hate, the conniving, each one of them resounded in a thank you in heaven till it began to flow like a river. And God reacted because God will owe no man, not even the man Christ Jesus.
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This a wonderful well written article. I am blessed and enlightened, "thank you".