Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Blessing of Gratitude

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.  –Luke 17:15-19 (KJV)

Gratitude given and received is always a positive and uplifting experience.  A genuine “thank you” truly warms the heart.  I was reading an article a number of months ago about good communication and the writer suggested we do well to respond to a thank you with a simple “you’re welcome.”  If we respond to a thank you with “no problem,” “that’s okay,” or “don’t mention it,” we then run the risk of possibly devaluing the offered gratitude.  I confess I had not given it much thought, but he is correct.  These days if someone says thank you, I reply with a sincere “you’re welcome.”  You really cannot go wrong with such a response.

The Bible describes in Luke 17 how Jesus healed ten lepers of their disease.  The men were so excited over being healed only one came back to say thank you.  Instead of offering the prescribed, “you’re welcome,” Jesus used this as a teaching moment.  Jesus pointed out to those who had gathered that the one leper who had come back to say thank you for his healing was of the hated people known as Samaritans.  Jesus reminded them of how the grace of God extends to all who believe regardless of race or ethnic background.  Jesus may not have used those nice words “you’re welcome,” yet He truly received, and appreciated, the man’s gratitude.

I wear many hats and one of them is part-time school bus driver.  My sister suggested I write a book about my experiences driving a school bus, and believe me there is ample material, yet I have not found the time to pursue this project.  Last week I was driving a group of 30 or so rambunctious elementary school boys to the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club when I received a call on the radio asking me to go back to the school and pick up a child who had missed the bus.  I circled the block and after picking up the child, a little boy named Billy*, resumed the drive.  Along the way, my charges became loud and unruly and it was only with numerous threats of giving names to the school principle I was able to restore something which resembled order. 

Upon arriving at our destination, the boys all got off the bus.  I noticed Billy, the little boy I had to go back to pick up, had waited to speak with me.  Once all the boys were off the bus, Billy said, “Mr. Dan, thank you for coming back to get me.  I’m sorry I made you late.”  A few minutes earlier I was exasperated, yet I felt tears in my eyes over this child’s words (“Were there not ten cleansed?”)  I could think of no other response.  “You’re welcome Billy,” I said. 

I have had many a thank you in my life.  I will not forget this one.

God bless you today.

*Name has been changed.