Tag Archives: appreciation

RETURNING THANKS

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, TURNED BACK… and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks… There are not found that RETURNED to give glory to God, save this stranger” —Luke 17:18

The phrase “return thanks” is based on the Bible account of Jesus healing the ten lepers and one one came back to “return thanks” to Jesus (Luke 17:12-18). Ingratitude is one of the most grievous sins a person can commit.

While we certainly need to return thanks to God who “daily loadeth us with benefits” (Ps. 68:19), we must not neglect to be thankful for our family and friends who have been a blessing to us through life.

Nine times Paul writes in his epistles, “I thank my God,” or “I thank Christ Jesus…” (Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4, 14; 14:18; Phil. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:3; Philemon 1:4).  If you look at the context of Paul’s thankfulness, you will see most are expressions of gratitude for what others have done for him.

Eleanor MacKerron, was a popular pianist at the New Hampshire’s Rumney Bible Conference.  In the mid 1960’s she underwent surgery on her brain to relieve pressure caused by a decompressed bone in her skull.

Several years later a lady approached her after she played at the Bible Conference.  She told MacKerron, “I have your skull bone!”  She proceeded to tell her how she had been hit on the head by a beam at a submarine base in Connecticut.  Facing a brain operation at New England Baptist Hospital, she needed a bone. Doctors found the exact size from their bone bank.  After recovering from the surgery she asked the doctors whose bone it was. They told her, “Eleanor MacKerron.”

There at that Bible Conference she told Eleanor, “I vowed that I would find you to tell you thank you.” Eleanor then reached out and felt her bone in the lady’s head.

Thanksgiving is a time of “returning thanks.” British author James Allen said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”

Is there someone you need to “return thanks” for what they mean in your life?

On Familiarity

On Familiarity

Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” —1 Peter 4:8

Most people have heard the expression, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  It originated with Aesop in “The Fox and the Lion.”  It basically means that the more familiar we become with something (or someone), we tend to get annoyed with it or we even start resenting it.

However, is it really true? Does being more familiar with something or someone make us resentful?  I’m sure it sometimes happens, but it doesn’t have to!

The premise behind the statement is as you get closer to someone, you begin to see their flaws and their shortcomings and therefore lose respect for them. While this may be true, it shouldn’t necessarily lead to “contempt.”  After all, the Bible says, “love covereth all sins” (Prov. 10:12). Love tends to overlook a person’s flaws and shortcomings. As Paul wrote, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind… is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” (1 Cor. 13:4-5).

The truth is, familiarity can breed appreciation.  I’m much more familiar with my wife today than when we first met over 60 years ago.  I am more familiar with her than any other person on earth, and I have nothing but love for her.  So, in this case, familiarity does NOT breed contempt. Instead familiarity paves the way for greater appreciation, intimacy, and love.  As Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to become familiar with those who labor for the Lord and “esteem them very highly in love” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). The same can be said about being familiar with church, family, or true friends.

We must take steps to prevent any feeling of contempt from springing up in our relationships.  First, beware of having unreasonable expectations in people. Everything on earth is flawed (expect the Bible).  Realize nothing is as good as it first may appear (actually, it is often better!).  It is not familiarity that breeds contempt, but our own unrealized expectations of personal happiness that breeds contempt. The truth is, when you show contempt, it says more about your lack of charity than it does about what you have contempt for.

Phillip Brooks put it this way, “Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptible things or among contemptible people.”