How To Thank God
When we lived in Asia, one of the surprises was that when we gave someone a gift, that person might or might not say the words, "Thank you." Since saying "Thank you" is such an automatic response in the western world, I was uncomfortable when I didn't hear those words of response. Did the person not like the gift? Did I choose the wrong time to give her the gift? Or was it wrapped in the wrong color of paper?
As I learned more about Asian culture, I learned that to an Asian merely saying the words "Thank you" is considered a rather inferior way of showing appreciation. After all, it costs nothing to say "Thank you." If that person really wants to show appreciation he or she will respond at a later time by giving you a gift in return, or perhaps doing you a special favor. Now, that's real appreciation because it costs something.
I couldn't help wondering if God feels the same way. Oh, yes, He appreciates the expression of our gratitude. Perhaps you remember the time Jesus healed ten lepers. Luke chapter 17 tells us, "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him" (Luke 17:15-16).
But when God does something special for us, is there a more meaningful way we could show our appreciation than merely a cursory "Thank you, Lord" as we give God a quick nod and then go back to life as usual?
We owe a tremendous debt of love to the Lord for what He has done for us. The apostle Paul says that "Christ's love compels us..., that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). A heart commitment to live for God instead of for myself is, I think, the best way to tell Him "Thank you."