For whatever reason, and I know this is petty and selfish, I tend to get pretty frustrated when people are not thankful for me opening the door for them. I don’t need a scene or a dramatic production. I don’t even need a verbal thank you. A smile, a nod, or any combination of the two would more than suffice.
And the thing is, I know that I do not need the thank you. I think I just get disappointed that they do not feel the need to give one. I realize that is judgmental and that I usually know nothing about what kind of mood they are in or what they have been through that day. That is on me and I am not proud of it. However, I have to wonder if God ever feels frustrated when we do not give thanks.
In Luke 17, Jesus heals ten men that have leprosy. They approach Him asking that He will have pity on them, and He tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. When they do, they are healed. Of the ten men, however, only one returns to say thank you. A Samaritan, who would rarely have even spoken to a Jew, came and threw himself at Jesus’ feet, giving thanks. Then Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:17-19 NIV)
There have been a couple of situations in the last week in which God has greatly blessed my family. In one in particular, he answered a prayer that has been a burden on my family for several years. As I yelled out “Praise God! Thank you Lord!” at the top of my lungs, I started to feel inadequate as if my thank you’s were not enough. I started to wonder what it would be like for God to deserve eternal thanks and only receive my meager words.
It was at that point that I realized that God does not need my thanks. His ego does not depend on anything I do or say. Jesus was not frustrated by the other nine men because He was offended by them, but because His heart broke for them.
You see, giving thanks to God gives us the opportunity to truly experience humility, to immerse ourselves in His love and blessings, and to prepare our hearts to funnel those blessings to those in need. Make no mistake, giving thanks did much more for that Samaritan man than it did for Jesus.
Saying “thank you” is for our benefit, not God's. And as much as He has proven that He loves us, I can only imagine how much it hurts Him when we pass up that blessing.
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. (1 Chronicles 16:8 NLT)