Whatever Happened to Appreciation?
THE twelve-year-old boy was drying dishes, somewhat against his will. Suddenly, a large platter slipped from his fingers and went crashing to the kitchen floor. The momentary silence that followed seemed unending. Then his mother said: “You know, Robert, of all the times you have dried dishes for me, this is the first time you dropped one. I think you have set some kind of a record.”
The anxious look left the boy’s face and he smiled lovingly at his mother. Her few words of appreciation at the right time had saved the day for both her son and her. How true the words of the wise man Solomon! “As apples of gold in silver carvings is a word spoken at the right time for it.”—Proverbs 25:1, 11.
“Utterly Lacking in Gratitude”
It is truly heartwarming to receive a few words of commendation or gratitude. But what has happened to appreciation? Why, in today’s materialistic world sincere expressions of appreciation are disappearing! Gratitude is being replaced by a “me-first” attitude. Lacking in the vocabulary of many is the simple phrase “Thank you very much!” This situation is in fulfillment of the apostle Paul’s words: “But you must realise that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centred . . . They will be utterly lacking in gratitude.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5, Phillips.
At the same time, appreciation is often replaced by flattery. Expressions of appreciation are made from the heart with no thought of personal gain. However, flattery, usually insincere and extravagant, stems from the ulterior motive of getting ahead or gaining certain personal advantages. (Jude 16) Who wants to receive insincere flattery? But genuine appreciation—well, that is different!
The writer Mark Twain once said: “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Most of us do feel good when someone pays us a sincere compliment. In fact, being commended or receiving words of true appreciation can stimulate us to keep doing our best and also to commend or thank others when we have opportunity to do so.
That heartfelt gratitude is a godly virtue is evident from many statements in the Bible. For instance, numerous psalms contain expressions of thanksgiving. To illustrate: The psalmist David prayed that he might dwell in Jehovah God’s house of worship all his life and look upon God’s temple “with appreciation.” (Psalm 27:4) Asaph, another psalmist, declared: “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks to you.” (Psalm 75:1) So it is fitting that we reflect on this matter of showing appreciation.
Yet, how can we show appreciation to others? And what about showing gratitude to the One who made all things?