The “Thank You” Wave
We’ve all been there. You are stopped at a traffic light and see a fellow motorist wanting to enter traffic from a side street or parking lot. You make eye contact and motion for them to go ahead in front of you. There is a moment after that small act of kindness on your part that is pregnant with anticipation. The unspoken question hangs heavy in the air. Will they give you the obligatory “thank you” wave? Or will they fail to acknowledge your courtesy, too busy to be bothered with common decency, and unknowingly contribute to the ever-widening tear in the very fabric of polite society?
Obviously I’m being a little overly dramatic in describing this scenario, but my point is simply this: gratitude matters. Even the simple act of thanking a courteous driver matters. There is an incident recorded in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus did not receive a “thank you” wave, so to speak, for something of much greater significance than polite driving. In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus encounters ten men with leprosy, outcasts from society. Jesus tells them to go present themselves to the priest, as prescribed in Leviticus. The ten men respond in obedience to Jesus, and as they went they were healed from leprosy. While all ten experienced healing, only one Samaritan returned to Jesus in praise and gratitude. Jesus asks if all ten were cleansed, where are the other nine? Where was their gratitude?
As we quickly approach the Thanksgiving season, may we be grateful people. One way we can show gratitude is to share our blessings with others. Opportunities include donating to our annual food drive for the Shelby Baptist Association called the “Tin Can Bowl,” packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, volunteering at the Shelby Baptist Christmas Gift Shop, and more. A simple way to express gratitude is to follow the advice of the old hymn and, “count your blessings, name them one by one.” Some people are using social media to post one thing they are thankful for every day leading up to Thanksgiving Day in gratitude to the Lord. While I am writing about gratitude, I should take the opportunity to express gratitude on behalf of the rest of the ministerial staff and myself for the gifts, cards, and words of encouragement we received during Pastor Appreciation month. Thank you for expressing your gratitude to us. It means a lot. Gratitude really does matter.