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The Spirituality of Thank You
by Emmanuel Iweha
Saying thank you is one of the basics of good manners and being civil.
But it has a far greater spiritual implication and we just want to use
this short piece to scratch the surface of the spiritual reality of
saying thank you not just to God but to man. You might be surprised ...
The Spirituality of Thank You
Thank you is one of those word combinations that society generally views
as something that works to favor the norms of cultures every where. It
is encouraged in kids and is one of those things that are considered to
be critical in the social nature of the human race. Thank you implies
politeness and proper conduct. It is civil and positively viewed as
being friendly. Thank you goes beyond this. We want to look at the
spirituality of these two words when combined together. That is, what it
implies as far you, the next person and God are all concerned.
All scripture quotes are from the KJV except otherwise stated. Please see
end note for scripture reference.
“were it not ten people that were healed yet only this Samaritan came to
give God glory?”
Only one came back to say thank you. We want to look at the spirituality of
these two words when they are combined together. Their social importance
is inculcated from childhood. So much so that the average person
naturally associates negativity with it when it is lacking or when it is
not said when it should be said. The person that it is not said to
presumes this of the person that should have said it and the person that
didn’t say it recognizes this negativity of his or her own person. So at
the most basic and natural level, thank you is a social tool that
establishes some form of recognition between all the parties involved in
that place where it was or wasn’t said. The recognition may be positive
or negative and has a way of leaving a character image of the people
concerned to each other.
However, the general knowledge about its importance as a social tool is
only equaled by the profound ignorance displayed when it comes to its
spiritual import. This is further highlighted as being all the more
ignoble when seen in the light of the commonality or simplicity of the
aforementioned knowledge. That is, the spirituality of the words ‘thank
you’ is meant to be as common a knowledge as the social aspect is of
those same words. Or just as man has come to deduce or imply or know so
much about the words ‘thank you’ when it comes to the social aspect, so
also man but most especially the Christian should know as much if not
more of the spirituality of those same words.
We are not talking about being grateful. That is part of the social
aspect of the word ‘thank you’. We pick on gratitude here because when
we bring up the words ‘thank you’ and place it side by side with the
scripture above, one might naturally begin to think that the
spirituality we are talking about has to do with gratitude or giving
glory to God as Christians. This is not what we are talking about and
the unfortunate thing here is that we view ‘thank you’ or even gratitude
to God in the mind of the social man i.e. how we view showing gratitude
or saying thank you to the next human being. They are completely
different and we don’t want to look at gratitude to God here but just
those two words ‘thank you’ and their spiritual implication.
We want to look at how God views thank you any time you say it and what
it provokes in Him. It is not even the word provoke that we should use
here but demand. That is, any time you say ‘thank you’ it places a
demand on God, a challenge that he can’t but respond to or He will be
failing in something that is cardinal to His Person and character. This
is the spirituality we are talking about. And it is not just when you
say thank you but when it is said to you also. They both place a demand
on a critical aspect of God’s Person that compels Him to respond in
order to stay true to that aspect or character or nature.
We know that there are aspects of God that He doesn’t toy with. When he
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy on.”
This in essence showed us something about His mercy i.e. as aspect or nature
of Him that He is committed to being true to. When He told Abram;
‘in blessing will I bless you’
The scripture says in another place that He swore with His own name because
there was nothing greater that he could use to show to Abraham that He
meant to do what He was saying at that point in time, this is also an
aspect of God.
So there are many aspects of God that makes Him consistent or makes Him who
“I am that I am.”
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
The words ‘thank you’ provokes or places a demand on another aspect of
God that He can’t but respond to. But before we look at what it
provokes, we have to state here the only condition that is necessary for
one to tap into this blessing that is there for the taking.
The condition is that the ‘thank you’ has got to be genuine and unsolicited
for. Genuine in the sense that it must come from the heart and be meant
not as some kind of little chatter or niceties, but as something one
truly means at that point it time. Spirituality always demands its own
definitions and that definition must be scriptural as against what any
dictionary would say or the average person on the street would affirm.
For instance, adultery or fornication by dictionary definition is when
one commits a sexual act with someone that is not a spouse to that
person. But the scripture defines it as being when you lust after a
person in your heart.
You have to kill to be a murderer by the dictionary definition but with
scripture, all you have to do is hate.
So genuine ‘thank you’ has a definition that is aside from appreciating a
person for opening the door or just being civil. You may say thank you
in such cases and really mean it but that is not what we are talking
about. When you scream for help and somebody comes and actually provides
that help that person has done something that you would have otherwise
been unable to do. Genuine ‘thank you’ comes out of a need that you
couldn’t meet even if you wanted to. We are not saying you don’t mean
the ‘thank you’ that you say every now and then especially when someone
shows a bit of chivalry or does something civil and proper, but if you
could do that thing anyway, what then has been done? Nothing in essence
has been done i.e. spiritually speaking.
“we are unprofitable ... for we have only done what we have been asked to do.”
“if a man ask you to go with him for one mile, go two; then you will truly
be sons and daughters of your Father on high who causeth His rain to
fall on both the wicked and the righteous alike.”
Now we are still going some where, but a genuine thank you comes about out
of a need that is met that the person that said the thank you could not
have been able to meet even if he or she wanted to. That is, at that
point in time you have provided an indelible service to that person so
much so that the ‘thank you’ is just a fall out of the over flow of
gratitude and relief that is coming out of that person. When was the
last time you heard or felt that kind of thank you?
The other aspect of this one condition is that you should not walk in the
spirit of the crooked or unrighteous servant whose master told him to
give account or reconcile his accounts because he was about being
relieved of his job. The scripture says that he went on to do favors for
his master’s debtors so that he by ingratiating himself with them he
would then be in a stead where they would be compelled to show their
This is the kind of work-place spirit many adopt that you should best
avoid if you want to place the demand on God we are talking about.
“And God said to Abraham I am your exceedingly great reward.”
We are really getting closer home. Abraham did something that caused him to
‘receive’ a thank you from the king of Sodom that placed a demand on
that very aspect of God we are talking about.
There are so many things to say from this scripture as it concerns what
we are talking about but we don’t want to go ahead of ourselves.
Sticking to the initial reason we brought this portion of scripture up;
don’t be like some who know how to extricate favors from people. What
the servant was after was enforced ‘thank you’. And he got what he was
after. This is the kind of thank you one gets in the place of work as it
has to do with many who work or show commitment because of what they
expect to get in terms of bonuses or promotion or what have you. And the
issue of the work place is so convoluted that every body knows this i.e.
both the employer and the employee and like someone going to meet a
harlot, every one is down with it. So the worker works to get his ‘thank
you’ which the employee encourages and in the social and economic world,
it is acceptable. But when you do this or do something to get something,
the thank you get is not even recognized in heaven.
“do not be like the Pharisee ... who do ... to receive the praise of men ... they have
gotten their reward.”
“... who love the honor of men rather than God.”
The next thing about that same scripture of Abraham was that the king of
Sodom really said thank you but Abraham by refusing the earthly show of
appreciation and not taking his reward in terms of the spoils of war
from the King was in effect just taking the verbal heart felt thank you.
Now did the man say thank you? The answer is no but the spiritual truth
is that he didn’t have to say it for it to scripturally fall under the
scriptural definition of a thank you. A need was met or provided by
Abraham that that man could not meet by himself in any stretch of the
imagination. Abraham now cemented this by refusing to take anything from
the man besides the gratitude or thank you recognized and heard in
heaven. Remember that you should do good things without expecting any
thing in return? Any time you do this a thank you has been said by that
person, whether he or she opens his or her mouth or not and it has been
heard in heaven.
The final thing we want to pick from this scripture is that God then
responded and this is where we are going. That is, once you fulfill the
condition of a genuine thank you, God can’t but respond. But what aspect
of God is really provoked to respond or what nature of God is that
demand placed upon that He can’t but reply in Kind? The answer is The
Word. Let’s look at The Word that God can’t but respond to when someone
tells you a genuine thank you and you fulfilling the condition.
“He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord and he shall repay him.”
God will never owe any man. He that says “Owe no man any thing, but to love
one another” (Romans 13:8) will not go against His Word.
“or who has lendeth to the Lord that he will not repay him?”
There are a couple of scriptures to pick from of God paying people back
because He won’t owe any one. But let us establish first that any time
someone tells you a genuine ‘thank you’ it translates to God owing you.
Any body that says a genuine thank you at that point in time is poor because
by the definition we have looked at earlier, such a person could not do
anything at that point in time to help his or her self. Genuine thank
you comes from genuine need that could not be met by the person that
then went on to say thank you because you met that need. This is why any
body that helps the poor, the needy or any body who at that point in
time couldn’t do that thing, whether it is to press the button in the
elevator or can’t afford shelter has placed a demand on God’s nature not
to owe any man.
Every thing belongs to God, even the poor and the needy. Anytime you
‘receive’ a genuine thank you, you have just done something for someone
who would not have been able to do that thing and God steps in because
you have done that thing to and for Him and He is able to pay you.
This is why Jesus enjoined us to show kindness to those who won’t be able to
respond in kind or pay us back. We can see the underlying reason because
it would provoke God who is able to pay us back to do so. On the
empirical side, anything we do towards God will get us a repayment
because He is able to pay us back. So with men, get them to say thank
you rather than pay you and you would have placed a demand on God who
gives with such liberality that all He has to do is open a window and
the blessings that will come forth can overwhelm you.
This also means that the thank you that you say to people is a doorway
for their blessings. Your thank you therefore is precious because it can
change lives. Don’t water it down or make it loose it spiritual
significance. You know you can by just stopping at the niceties and
mouthing it freely. Your thank you can turn the life of that person
I know my words are blessed. My good morning, good bye, have a lovely day,
I’m sorry, and thank you. They are all instrument of blessings so I
don’t toy or joke with them. I don’t allow any one to abuse it or
emotionally blackmail me into watering it down by just throwing it
around anyhow and making it cheap. And I want to help by God’s
definition of help. I want to hear thank you and receive the blessing in
that thank you in its spiritual genuineness.
When you do such undeserving good or provide help to those who can’t help
themselves or don’t know that they can’t help themselves, you are
placing a demand on God’s nature to repay debts owed. And remember that
the person doesn’t have to say thank you for it to be heard in heaven
and a response giving. Don’t even be shocked when you get abuse rather
than thank you. It really doesn’t matter what the person says as long as
God hears the thank you. Jesus did not hear thank you from those he
provided a need that they couldn’t provide for themselves (i.e. us all).
He even received curses, abuse, betrayals and beatings but the whole of
heaven heard the thank you. Each lash, each stone, each spittle, the
jeering, the mockery, the hate, the conniving, each one of them
resounded in a thank you in heaven till it began to flow like a river.
And God reacted because God will owe no man, not even the man Christ
[i] Luke 17:18 KJV
[ii] Romans 9:15
[iii] Genesis 22:17
[iv] Exodus 3:14
[v] Hebrews 13:8
[vi] Mathew 5:28
[vii] 1 John 3:15
[viii] Luke 17:10
[ix] Mathew 5:41
[x] Luke 16:4
[xi] Genesis 15:1
[xii] Matthew 6:2
[xiii] Matthew 6:5
[xiv] Proverbs 19:17
[xv] Proverbs 13:21