Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Thank you
In our home we have an assistant who will do whatever we ask. She is diligent, rarely does she rest, most if not all of the time, she completes every task we assign to her. She wakes us up every morning exactly when we tell her to. Not a minute earlier or later than we want…exactly when we say she should. She checks on the weather for us. She plays the music we want to hear when we direct her to. She keeps a watchful eye on how long something has been cooking and lets us know to remove it before it burns. If I want her to, she will even check on the internal temperature of my steaks on the grill while I am inside enjoying the air conditioning which she turned on for me before I got home. She runs around the house turning off all of the lights that I instruct her to from the comfort of my bed before I go to sleep. I never have to say please or thank you to her, she owes it to me, after all I allow her and her twins to stay in nearly every room in my home…rent free.
Sometimes I wonder why the creators of Alexa didn’t require that we say please before each request and thank you after each task was carried out. I have mentioned to my wife before that as our grandchildren grow up with such technologies as a regular part of their existence that their generation is losing out on many opportunities to learn the correct ways to respond to real-live-people. I am convinced it plays a part in the total lack of decorum in the world today.
I remember when I was raising my children when they were toddlers. I would give them something or be nearby when someone else would give them something and I would almost always ask a question you have undoubtedly asked nearly a million times yourself. What’s the magic words? Their responses were some cute version of the words they would eventually learn to say clearly and without provocation…please and thank you.
Why do we use these words when we desire something or have received what we wanted? Is it simply because it is the right thing to do? Is it good etiquette, and nothing more? Hopefully it is more than that. Far more than that.
I have noticed something. When I want something that I am about to provide for myself, I do not say please prior to receiving it, nor do I thank myself for getting it for me. With that in mind, why do I ask others prefaced with a please and follow their provision with a thank you? Clearly it is because I am requesting someone else use their time, money, resources or power that I might benefit. In response I recognize the need to be grateful they have met my need at their expense in one form or another. Often times that gratefulness is extended because I know I was completely unable to meet the need myself.
Have you ever noticed that when someone is asking you for something they cannot do for themselves that their requests become more like sincere pleading? Has it struck you sometimes as it has me that when someone thanks you for doing something for them that they recognize was beyond their own ability their thanks are especially heartfelt or given profusely? It feels good to be asked for something in such a manner or to receive such earnest thanks, doesn’t it?
Are we that careful or even more so with God or have the conveniences of our time caused us to become far too cavalier? Do we see Him as the all-knowing, all-powerful, unchangeable, ever present ruler of Heavens Armies, or is He our Alexa in the sky? Do we approach Him as the only one who can meet our needs that we are powerless to affect ourselves, or do we tell Him what we need or want Him to do? What is the last thing God did for you that you could not do for yourself? I’ll tell you. He caused your heart to continue to beat and your chest to rise and fall drawing in the oxygen He replenished with his green creation which will in turn take the carbon dioxide you exhale and turn it into more new fresh oxygen…and He did all of that most recently while you listened to me tell you about it. Have you thanked Him for it yet? Did you ask Him nicely to do it? I am not suggesting we use each breath to thank Him for the last…or am I? we should at least recognize we owe Him the gratitude.
Psalm 75 begins like this; We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Everyday contains a plethora of reasons to give thanks to God. This verse points that out. The wondrous works of God declare that He and His all-powerful name is nearby. In other words, nothing good happens that doesn’t come directly from Him. James 1:17 tells us; Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. That means He has always been giving good gifts, He is giving good gifts (even as we breath) and He will always give good and perfect gifts. Don’t you think we should try to be more aware of them and be more grateful for them? The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…anything you have…even the breath in your lungs is a gift, use it gratefully.
So now, with a truly grateful heart…go be awesome!