“I Appreciate Appreciation”
There is a battle that rages in homes all across America. The child gets something (maybe a piece of candy) and says nothing. Dad or mom tells the child: "say thank-you." Through shyness or stubbornness the kid refuses. Maybe they are told again: "say thank-you." A little head shakes no. At this point the determined parent tells the kid: "you’ve got two choices. Say thank-you or give the candy back." And then usually at that point there is at least a mumbled "thank-you." I get that this battle can be tedious but it is certainly worth fighting. Parents give their children a tremendous blessing when they train them to be appreciative of the things they receive. Our Heavenly Father encourages the same attitude: "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
But what if we don’t learn to be appreciative? What if we were given pieces of candy as a kid but didn’t learn that we should be grateful for the gift? Well, I suspect we would have a different kind of mindset at that point. I might think that I was given that candy because I was just so cute. (I was cute at one point, ask my mom). I might come to think it was the other person’s Christianly duty to give me candy. And if that happens I might come to expect the candy, perhaps even becoming upset when a good Christian person walks by and doesn’t give me candy. And that, my friends, would be no fun to be around. It sucks all the joy out of giving when the person you’re trying to bless expects you to do it.
Let me make a suggestion. Be thankful. Even if you didn’t learn the practice early train yourself to be super appreciative whenever someone does something for you. Especially be in the habit of praising God. "Praise him – he is your God, had you have seen with your own eyes the great and astounding things that he has done for you" (Deuteronomy 10:21). Many people are MUCH more vocal about the things they don’t have, or the things that are going wrong. But I think God delights in those who spend more time in praise for all the many blessings they do have. Wouldn’t you?