Saying “thank you” is a lot like saying “I love you.” In two ways, really.
First – hearing someone express gratitude means they SEE you. They really noticed what you did and their response was not just to accept your gift, but to acknowledge you for it. When you tell someone you love them, there is no greater example of gratitude – a full appreciation of that person.
Secondly, saying “thank you” is overused. Just like “love.”
Love is one of the weirdest words in the English language. Many languages have multiple words to express the variety of things we simply “love.” Yes, you can “love” people. But you can also love a pet. Love a TV show. Love fresh made pesto with garden-grown basil, tossed in perfectly al dente linguine…
That’s a broad spectrum of “love” and so is the overused “thank you.”
Thank you for holding the door open. Thank you for responding to my email. Thank you for being a friend, traveling down a road and back again… (RIP Betty White). “Thank you” is covering a lot of ground. Sometimes it means a lot. Sometimes it is just being polite.
The big difference is that overusing the word “love” can diminish its power. But the more you give thanks – the BIGGER that word becomes in your heart.
Gratitude is an essential piece of character that followers of Jesus have. The Bible says that it is with a thankful heart that we enter into God’s very presence (Psalm 95). It is humility lived out loud. And as the VeggieTales sang, a THANKFUL HEART is a HAPPY HEART!
And like most things that build Christ-like character, a thankful heart comes with experience. When you go through seasons in life, experiences of hardship or unprecedented joy – you still approach God in prayer with a thankful heart. And unlike most overused words, developing a habit of saying “thank you” deepens our understanding of how much we have to be grateful for.
I am THANKFUL that God provides for LifeSongs. I am THANKFUL for every brother, sister and family that has partnered with my family to keep LifeSongs on the air. And the more I dwell on that attitude of gratitude, the MORE it means!