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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Lee

What if no one says, “Thank You?”

Gratitude is something that is often discussed. People love it when others are grateful for the things, they have done for them. It feels great to receive a thank you card, a thank you text, or some kind of response when doing something for someone else. 

However, I think we have all experienced when we have done some kind of good deed, and there wasn’t any kind of acknowledgment of it. Some may feel hurt or disappointed. How do we navigate these kinds of feelings? Should we expect some kind of acknowledgement from others? What if none comes? The Bible helps us to navigate these kinds of emotions. 

First, let’s begin with Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. We are reminded that the good deeds we do are ultimately for the Lord. There can be a potential trap of doing things simply to receive honor or praise from others. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 6:1-4.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So, when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4.

There is potential danger for us even as we strive to do something good. God must be our ultimate reason behind what we do. And yet there is also the fact that people will see what we do. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 5:16

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16 

In all we do, let us do it for the glory of God! There’s another story found in the gospels, that is also important for us to consider. It’s found in Luke 17

“While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master,  have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine – where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner? And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’ Luke 17:11-19

I find this story fascinating. 

  1. Jesus heard these men from afar. There had to be distance for those who had leprosy. 

  2. Jesus responded to their request with a “Yes!” He granted them mercy. 

  3. Jesus healed all ten of these men. They were given a second chance! 

  4. What should have been the natural response from all ten of these men? All of them should have shown immense gratitude toward Jesus. Yet only one returned. 

  5. Even Jesus was surprised at their response or should we say lack of response. 

As we think about doing good, think about Jesus. Only 1 out of 10 returned to Jesus to show Him how grateful they were for what He had done. Should we expect to receive more than what Jesus did? I think it’s normal to want to some kind of acknowledgment or show of appreciation. When it does happen, embrace it. However, that is not the main reason why we seek to do good toward others. 

  1. We seek to do good toward others because of what God has done for us. 

  2. We seek to do good toward others because our Father in heaven is good. 

  3. We seek to do good toward others so that God will be glorified. 

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