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Responding To Thanksgiving

So we are on the cusp of yet another Thanksgiving Holiday. There are many who will encourage you to give thanks, and so you should. In this space this month, I am going to approach the topic from another perspective. The thought springs from something that I witnessed recently at a fast food establishment. My question for you is this: How do you respond to thanksgiving? In other words, when someone gives you thanks, what do you say in reply to them?

Some reply with the words, “No problem” or “Whatever,” which – in my opinion – devalues the act of giving thanks. It’s as if the action for which you are thanking the person cost them nothing at all. It had no meaning for them. It is hardly even worth mentioning. It’s not a problem. Truth be told, no thanks were really necessary at all.

Most people respond to a “Thank You” with the words, “You’re welcome.” I know what is implied when we say such things: The dictionary defines those words as, “A polite response to thanks,” but really, what do those words mean? Those who study language tell us that, in Old English, the word, welcome, sprang from two words whose meanings were “pleasure” and “received (or come).” Roughly translated then, “You’re Welcome,” is a polite means of acknowledging the receipt of pleasure in a person’s expression of thanks. I’m sure you’ll thank me for parsing that out for you. You’re welcome.

As I previously noted, all of this sprang to mind because of a consistent exchange that I noted at a recent visit to Davenport’s Chick-Fil-A Restaurant. When my order was ready, the counter-staff handed me my tray of food. I said to them, “Thank You.” They replied, “My pleasure.”

This wasn’t an offhanded remark either. I picked a spot close to the counter whereby I could hear this exchange repeated often. “Thank You,” the customer offered. “My pleasure,” says the associate. It was as if the workers there had received specific training to respond in that manner.

Now, unlike the polite, but meaningless, response of “You’re welcome” – and just the opposite of the valueless reply of “Whatever” – “My pleasure” is loaded with meaning and value! It conveys the idea that one is both important and worthy of service. I am not surprised that the Chick-Fil-A company might train their staff to reply in that way. They are a Christian-led organization.

I think this idea has a spiritual application in worship. Christian worship, or acknowledging God’s worthiness, consists largely of giving thanks to God for Who He Is and what He has done. That is the historical focal-point of this month’s major holiday.

Have you ever wondered how God might respond to our thanksgiving? I doubt that He’s thinking, “Whatever.” I’m fairly certain that His reaction is more than a polite, “You’re Welcome.” I believe that Chick-Fil-A may be accurately imaging God with their reply to thanks: My Pleasure.

Think about it. God responding to your praise and thanksgiving by saying, “It is my pleasure.” He would be saying that you have worth and value in His sight. You are important. You are loved. God loved us all so much that He sent His One and only Son, in the form of a servant, to carry the greatest burden for us all. He took our sins with Him to the grave that they might be done away with forever, and then He rose again to newness of life so that we could have life with Him forever.

To that, I can never stop saying, “Thank You.” I wonder if He replies with, “My Pleasure.” **

Giving thanks with you and for you this month,

Pastor Clint

**(for more insight, see Ephesians, chapter 1.)

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