The last time I was substitute teaching at the high school I received a pleasant surprise at the end of one of my classes. Two students, as they were leaving the classroom, passed by my desk and said, “Thanks Mrs. H!” I felt strangely warmed. At the same time I was a little perplexed. Who takes the trouble to thank a substitute teacher? Those two students evidently thought it was important, and it made my day. Two out of twenty in the class bothered to express their gratitude. Two out of twenty … or one out of ten.
Jesus had a similar experience (Luke 17:11-19). On a road trip to Jerusalem he met ten men who had a dreaded disease. They had leprosy, so they kept their distance. But they knew Jesus could help them so they called out urgently to him: “Jesus, have pity on us!”. Jesus told them to go pay a visit to their priests. As they went on their way they found themselves miraculously healed. Imagine their surprise and pleasure! Indeed it was a life-changing experience for them! Yet nine of the men simply continued on their way. Only one went back to thank Jesus. One out of ten.
Is there a pattern here? I wonder …
How many people do you know who make it a habit to express gratitude for even the simplest things? Do you? Do I?
How many people think of thanking the bus driver who takes them to work? One out ten?
Who bothers to tip the teenage guy behind the fast food counter? One out of ten?
Who expresses gratitude to the hassled cashier at the grocery store? One out of ten?
How many offer a smile of encouragement and a word of thanks to the cleaning girl in the washroom at the theater? One out of ten?
What about the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the worship leader at church, the lad who delivers the newspaper to your door, or the countless others who are just doing their job of serving in some way day in and day out? How many people thank them? One out of ten?
I ask you: could you be that one?
I ask myself: could I?
A grateful heart is a happy heart. And a happy heart ought to be looking for chances to express gratitude!
A simple “thank you” will perhaps strangely warm someone’s heart. It will also make the giver happy, and even more grateful … guaranteed.