Two powerful words: “Thank You!” Those two words have the power to transform. Paul would repeatedly write in his letters how thankful he was for the people to whom he was writing. He would say, “I thank God upon every remembrance of you.” (Phil. 1:3, NJKV)
Research shows that thankful people are happier and experience better health. “Thank you” is also a good stress reducer. It is hard to have high blood pressure and be thankful. Thankfulness quiets the troubled spirit. It is also hard to be thankful and stressed at the same time. Thankfulness and appreciation are good for us personally, and for those with whom we interact. Thankfulness is like a muscle. The more often we do it, the more thankful we are.
Look again at what Paul will say, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Remembering someone and something they did produced a heart of thankfulness in Paul. When we reflect on something good someone has done for us, we should be thankful. When we remember an experience, we are brought to thankfulness. When we remember that person who lifted us out of darkness, we are moved to be thankful.
A few years ago, when I was in a stupor, I called a close advisor to share my woes. He told me to find ten people who had done something for me and go and tell them, “Thank you.” I did, and then I realized why he told me to do that. By remembering what the people had done for me, it changed my focus. I began to focus on all the things for which I was thankful rather than the thing that was affecting me and producing the dark stupor. It changed my mind. It was transforming.
Zig Ziglar had a gratitude wall. I saw it. He would say, “I am thankful for everyone on that wall. Some of them for the good they did for me and some for other reasons. But I am still thankful.”
Maybe this is not you, but don’t we tend to focus just on the moment right before our nose, rather than the overall picture? If someone hurts me, it is that moment that gets my attention. But what if, before I became too rash, I remembered all the good they had done for me. Wouldn’t my remembering produce thankfulness which would also quiet the issues I had with them? Too often, we tend to focus on what is right before our nose rather than the overall picture.
Mealtimes are not the only times to say, “Thank you!” What if we began our day thanking God because we remember how He cared for us through the night? What if in the morning we thanked God because we remembered the good from the previous day by other people? What if we were thankful at night before we closed our eyes to sleep, as we lay our heads on our pillows remembering all the good that has happened that day? All the wonderful people we encountered, and even the few rascals. But we remember them all and are thankful for everyone.
When we remember we have more to be thankful for, thankfulness and resentment cannot reside in the same heart.