Two Little Words

“Thank you!” Just two little words. But how often do we say them? Have we developed an attitude of gratitude — being grateful for all that we have and all that God and our fellow man may have given to us?

In more recent times, the Church critic has surfaced. He has always been there, of course, but today he seems to be more vocal. It seems to go with the territory both in the Church of God and the world at large. We live in a selfish and ungrateful society that does its own thing and feels that it has every right to do so, irrespective of the consequences, even when others are hurt. But we, as God’s people, should know better. My experience in the last decade is that there are those, claiming that they belong to “the church,” who are lurking out there just looking to pounce on anything that they may not quite agree 100% with. Instead of gently taking up a matter or issue with the person concerned, a critical and, in some cases, self-righteous approach is adopted. But we must remember that our approach shows our degree of conversion.

We have all heard sermonettes or sermons that may have meandered, gone on too long because of several repetitions of the same point, not been as structured as we would have liked, seemingly not been as carefully worked on as some others, or which have been presented in a somewhat boring way. But – the speaker may have taken many hours to prepare his message. Unfortunately, our first approach may be to severely criticize rather than to be grateful to the speaker for all the time and effort that such a message may have occasioned. The same may apply to an article or an editorial in the weekly Update. Rather than immediately voicing disagreement with a particular statement, perhaps even in a hostile way, we should carefully consider whether we might have misunderstood the statement, or whether we might have a wrong approach toward the issue — and then, after praying about it, we can gently take up the matter with the writer or the speaker. The same goes for other aspects of this worldwide work, be it our Websites, our Internet services, or other technical aspects. In sport, the spectator on the sidelines believes that he is always able to do better than the players themselves. The observer thinks that he can manage the local team better than the manager who is usually a professional and gets paid for doing the job.

There are many admonitions in the Bible to be appreciative, to dwell and meditate on the good, and to give thanks. In the various exhortations in 1 Thessalonians 5, verse 18 tells us: “in everything give thanks.” The words “thank you” to God are a must. He gives us everything we have. The words “thank you” to fellow man, where merited, uplift, edify and encourage. That should be the way that we conduct ourselves.

Should we be “yes” men or women? Of course not! But a “thank you” now and again is so very encouraging. We all receive these words of encouragement from time to time. And when others show their appreciation, we can say a quiet or spoken “thank you” for their thoughtfulness.

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