Thank you notes seem to be passe' these days. It also seems in vogue to send thank yous for wedding and shower gifts one to two months after the event. When someone gives or sends a gift, do you remember to say, "Thank you"? If I send something, more so than the thank you, I just want to know that the person to whom I sent the gift actually received it. Gratitude is lacking in our society of entitlement.
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus had spent some time teaching His disciples, then traveled through Samaria to Galilee. On His way through Samaria, ten men with leprosy, a horrible flesh-rotting disease, came as close to Him as they were allowed and called to Him to have mercy and heal them. Keep in mind that anyone with this disease was cast out of the city to protect everyone else from getting it. They were called "unclean" and congregated together outside the city walls. Lepers were poor since they couldn't work for a living. All the work that earned money and goods was in town. As the flesh rotted away, disfiguring them, they were separated from family and friends. No disease was more dreaded. To ask Jesus for healing was a tremendously brave request for them to ask of Him. To add to that bravery was the fact that at least one of them was a Samaritan, a despised group of half Jewish, half Gentile mixed breed people. The Jews would seriously circle the perimeter of Samaria rather than pass through it. For some reason, Jesus didn't skirt the outer edge of the region, but went right through it on more than one occasion.
In many of Jesus' miracles, the recipients of His healing saw it instantaneously. These ten men were simply told to show themselves to the priests. They were not healed quite yet. To go into town to show themselves to the priests took confidence in what Jesus could do. As they went, they were healed. I picture in my mind fingers and toes restored with each step they took. Next, the nose, mouth and ears restored. Then the skin was baby smooth and clear. Wow, Jesus is amazing! Jesus was testing their faith. If anyone stood there saying, "We aren't healed so we can't go to the Priests" would have left the one standing there still with the disease. When a Samaritan man noticed he was healed, he ran back to Jesus to thank Him, giving glory to God on the way. Interesting. All ten asked Jesus for healing yet only one came back to say thank you. Jesus noticed this and even asked where the other nine were. Samaritans rarely approached a Jew, but this man came right up to Jesus to say thanks. There was such gratitude, he couldn't help but give glory to God for this life-saving gift.
Do we say thank you when to the ones who do things for us, big or small? When was the last time you thanked the waitress at the restaurant with sincerity? Have you ever sent your doctor a thank you note for all that he or she has done for you? Have you thanked your spouse for all that he or she does for you? How about the one who led you to the Lord? The song, "Thank You" by Ray Boltz comes to mind. Thank you is like magic dust leaving a trail of encouraged people along your path.
Since October is Pastor Appreciation month, I would encourage you to say, "Thank you" to your pastor and his family for all that they do for you and yours. As a former pastor's wife, I can tell you that the pastor works 60+ hours a week ministering to you and the rest of the congregation by praying for you, the life of the church and for your community, preparing and delivering sermons and Bible study lessons, visiting people in the hospital, nursing homes, and in their homes, spending countless hours in meetings during the week, doing spiritual battle for the church and dealing with the fiery darts Satan sends his way through various people and circumstances. The family shares him with everyone in the congregation, misses going places on the weekends and holidays that you get to do, stretches finances to make things work more than the average person in the pew and still have to look nice and do things asked of them requiring funds, smile when people stab them in the back, pray for everyone in the church, pray over the pastor, and wonder if they will get to stay another year or pack to go somewhere else. The pastor and his family do what they do because they love the Lord and are faithful to their call. The thanks you give them can come in many forms.
Thank yous are painless and free. Give them generously!
Thank you, Readers and Clients! God bless you!