“Show yourselves thankful.”—COL. 3:15.
SONG 46 We Thank You, Jehovah
1. How did a Samaritan whom Jesus healed show appreciation?
THE ten men were desperate. They had leprosy, and the future looked bleak. But one day, they saw Jesus, the Great Teacher, from a distance. They had heard that Jesus healed all sorts of sicknesses, and they were convinced that he could heal them too. So they cried out: “Jesus, Instructor, have mercy on us!” The ten men were completely cured. No doubt all of them were grateful for Jesus’ kindness. One of them, however, did more than feel gratitude—he expressed his appreciationb to Jesus. That healed man, a Samaritan, felt compelled to glorify God “with a loud voice.”—Luke 17:12-19.
2-3. (a) Why might we fail to show appreciation? (b) What will we consider in this article?
2 Like the Samaritan, we want to express our gratitude to those who are kind. But on occasion, we may forget to put our feelings of appreciation into words or actions.
3 In this article, we will consider why it is important for us to express appreciation by what we say and do. We will learn from the examples of some Bible characters who were grateful and others who were not. Then we will discuss specific ways in which we can express appreciation.
WHY SHOULD WE EXPRESS APPRECIATION?
4-5. Why should we express appreciation?
4 Jehovah sets the example for us in expressing appreciation. One way he does this is by rewarding those who please him. (2 Sam. 22:21; Ps. 13:6; Matt. 10:40, 41) And the Scriptures encourage us to “become imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Eph. 5:1) So a key reason why we should express appreciation is that we want to follow Jehovah’s example.
5 Consider another reason why we want to express appreciation to others. Appreciation is like a good meal—it is more enjoyable when shared. When we feel appreciated, we are happy. When we express our appreciation, we make others happy. The person who receives our gratitude knows that his efforts to help us, or to give us something we need, were worthwhile. As a result, the bonds of friendship between us and that person are strengthened.
6. What are some similarities between words of appreciation and apples made of gold?
6 Our expressions of gratitude are valuable. The Bible states: “Like apples of gold in silver carvings is a word spoken at the right time.” (Prov. 25:11) Imagine how beautiful an apple made of gold and set in silver would look! And just think how valuable it would be! How would you feel if you received such a gift? Well, the words of gratitude you express to others can be just as valuable. And consider this fact: An apple made of gold could last indefinitely. Likewise, your expressions of appreciation may be remembered and treasured by the recipient for the rest of his life.
THEY EXPRESSED APPRECIATION
7. How did David, as seen at Psalm 27:4, and other writers of psalms express their appreciation?
7 Many of God’s servants in the past showed gratitude. One of them was David. (Read Psalm 27:4.) He deeply appreciated pure worship and expressed his feelings in a tangible way. He contributed a fortune toward the construction of the temple. Asaph’s descendants expressed appreciation by writing psalms, or songs of praise. In one song, they gave thanks to God and declared their admiration for Jehovah’s “wondrous works.” (Ps. 75:1) Clearly, David and Asaph’s descendants wanted to show Jehovah how much they appreciated all the blessings they had received from him. Can you think of ways that you can imitate those psalmists?
8-9. How did the apostle Paul show appreciation for his brothers and sisters, and what no doubt was the result?
8 The apostle Paul appreciated his brothers and sisters and showed it in the way he talked about them. He always thanked God for them in his private prayers. He also expressed his appreciation when writing to them. In the first 15 verses of Romans 16, Paul mentions 27 fellow Christians by name. Paul specifically recalled that Prisca and Aquila “risked their own necks” for him, and he described Phoebe as “a defender of many,” including Paul. He commended those beloved, hardworking brothers and sisters.—Rom. 16:1-15.
9 Paul was aware that his brothers and sisters were imperfect, but in closing his letter to the Romans, he chose to focus on their good qualities. Imagine how encouraged those brothers and sisters must have been to hear Paul’s comments read aloud to the congregation! As a result, their bond of friendship with Paul no doubt grew stronger. Do you regularly express appreciation for the good things that members of your congregation say and do?
10. What can we learn from the way that Jesus expressed appreciation for his followers?
10 In his messages to certain congregations of Asia Minor, Jesus expressed appreciation for the work his followers did. For example, he began his message to the congregation in Thyatira by saying: “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and ministry and endurance, and that your deeds of late are more than those you did at first.” (Rev. 2:19) Jesus not only mentioned their increased activity but also commended them for the qualities that motivated their good deeds. Although Jesus needed to counsel some in Thyatira, he still began and ended his message with encouragement. (Rev. 2:25-28) Think of the authority Jesus has as head of all the congregations. He does not have to thank us for the work we do for him. Even so, he makes a point of expressing appreciation. What an excellent example he sets for elders!
THEY SHOWED A LACK OF APPRECIATION
11. As shown at Hebrews 12:16, what attitude did Esau have regarding sacred things?
11 Sadly, some Bible characters displayed a lack of appreciation. For example, although Esau was raised by parents who loved and respected Jehovah, he lacked appreciation for sacred things. (Read Hebrews 12:16.) How did his ungrateful attitude become evident? Esau rashly sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, for a mere bowl of stew. (Gen. 25:30-34) Later, Esau bitterly regretted the choice he had made. But he had been ungrateful for what he had, so he had no basis for complaining when he did not receive the birthright blessing.
12-13. How did the Israelites reveal a lack of appreciation, and what was the result?
12 The Israelites had many reasons for showing appreciation. They were freed from slavery after Jehovah brought the Ten Plagues on Egypt. Then God saved them from disaster by destroying the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea. The Israelites were so grateful that they sang a victory song of praises to Jehovah. But did they remain grateful?
13 When the Israelites encountered new challenges, they soon forgot about all the good things Jehovah had done for them. They then revealed their lack of appreciation. (Ps. 106:7) How? “The entire assembly of the Israelites began to murmur against Moses and Aaron”—in reality, murmuring against Jehovah. (Ex. 16:2, 8) He was disappointed with the ungrateful attitude his people showed. He later foretold that this entire generation of Israelites would perish in the wilderness, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. (Num. 14:22-24; 26:65) Let us see how we can avoid following these bad examples and imitate the good ones.
EXPRESS APPRECIATION TODAY
14-15. (a) How can marriage mates show that they appreciate each other? (b) How can parents teach their children to show appreciation?
14 In the family. The entire family benefits when each member expresses appreciation. The more marriage mates show gratitude to each other, the closer they become. They also find it easier to forgive each other’s mistakes. A husband who appreciates his wife not only notices the good things she says and does but also “rises up and praises her.” (Prov. 31:10, 28) And a wise wife lets her husband know specifically what she appreciates about him.
15 Parents, how can you teach your children to show appreciation? Remember that your children will imitate what you say and do. So set a good example by saying thank you when your children do things for you. In addition, teach your children to say thank you when people do things for them. Help your children understand that expressing gratitude comes from the heart and that their words can do much good. For example, a young woman named Clary says: “At 32 years of age, my mother was suddenly left with three children to raise on her own. When I turned 32, I thought about how difficult it must have been for her at that age. So I told her how much I appreciate all that she sacrificed to raise my brothers and me. Recently, she told me that my words are very dear to her heart, that she often reflects on them, and that they always brighten her day.”
16. Give an example of how expressing appreciation can encourage others.
16 In the congregation. When we express appreciation to our brothers and sisters, we encourage them. For example, Jorge, a 28-year-old elder, became seriously ill. He could not attend meetings for a month. Even after returning to the meetings, he was still not able to handle parts on the program. Jorge admits: “I felt worthless because of my limitations and my inability to handle congregation responsibilities. But after one meeting, a brother told me: ‘I want to thank you for the fine example you have set for my family. You have no idea how much we have enjoyed your talks during the past few years. They have helped us to grow spiritually.’ I choked up, and my eyes filled with tears. His words were exactly what I needed to hear.”
17. As mentioned at Colossians 3:15, how can we show appreciation to Jehovah for his generosity?
17 To our generous God. Jehovah has given us an abundance of spiritual food. For example, we receive helpful instruction through our meetings, our magazines, and our websites. Have you ever heard a talk, read an article, or watched a broadcast and thought, ‘That is just what I needed’? How can we show our appreciation to Jehovah? (Read Colossians 3:15.) One way is by regularly thanking him in our prayers for these good gifts.—Jas. 1:17.
18. In what ways might we show appreciation for our Kingdom Hall?
18 We also express appreciation to Jehovah when we keep our place of worship clean and tidy. We share regularly in cleaning and maintaining our Kingdom Halls, and those who handle electronic equipment used by the congregation do so carefully. When we maintain our Kingdom Halls properly, they will last longer and will need fewer major repairs. That way, we make more money available to build and renovate other Kingdom Halls around the world.
19. What did you learn from the experience of one circuit overseer and his wife?
19 To those who work hard for us. When we express appreciation, our words might change the way a person feels about challenges that he or she faces. Consider the experience of one circuit overseer and his wife. After a long winter’s day in the ministry, they returned to their accommodations exhausted. It was so cold that the wife slept in her winter coat. In the morning, she told her husband that she felt unable to continue in the traveling work. Later that very morning, a letter from the branch office arrived, and it was addressed to her. The letter warmly commended her for her ministry and endurance. It acknowledged how difficult it can be to move from one accommodation to the next every week. Her husband says: “She was so touched by that commendation that she never again spoke of leaving the traveling work. In fact, several times she encouraged me to continue when I thought of quitting.” That couple remained in the traveling work for almost 40 years.
20. What should we try to do each day, and why?
20 May we try each day to show ourselves thankful by what we say and do. Our heartfelt words or actions may be just what another person needs to make it through one more day in this unthankful world. And our expressions of thanks will build bonds of friendship that can last forever. Most important, we will be imitating our generous, appreciative Father, Jehovah.
SONG 20 You Gave Your Precious Son
a What can we learn from Jehovah, Jesus, and a Samaritan leper about showing appreciation? This article will consider those examples and more. We will discuss why it is so important to express gratitude and review some specific ways that we can do it.
b EXPRESSION EXPLAINED: To appreciate someone or something means to recognize the value of that person or that thing. The word can refer to feelings of heartfelt gratitude.
c PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Paul’s letter is read to the Roman congregation; Aquila, Priscilla, Phoebe, and others are delighted to hear their names mentioned.
d PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A mother helps her daughter express appreciation for the good example set by an elderly sister.