Opening video from sermon spice: Thank You!
Series: The Art of “Thank You”
Thesis: We must cultivate a grateful heart with the Lord and learn to say “Thank You” to Him and to others. Thank You has the power to change our heart and others hearts! It can even transform our outlook on life and death.
Introduction to series:
The art of “Thank you” is created and birthed from a grateful heart and for the most part it is a learned behavior. Did you hear that- You can learn to be grateful and thankful!
Think about our early years for a moment and parenting. Saying “Please” and “Thank You” are one of the first lessons we learn as children! Emerson cannot talk but Vernon and Ashley have taught him sign language so he says please by rubbing his belly with both hands. I also know it’s a behavior and a manner stressed in Kindergarten. Saying Thank You is a learned behavior!
So why do we need to say “Thank You?”
Answer because it is important to recognize the time it took for the nice thing someone did for you, especially when we live in a time deprived society. When we do we acknowledge our relationship with the person we say "Thank You" to. It's a simple sign of respect. If we do not express gratitude, our relationship might change because we show we don't care about the other person’s gift or act of love.
It’s really about our attitude toward others and it’s about a communication form of artistic expression to others. Learning the art of gratefulness or thankfulness in our early years cultivates an appreciation for others and what they do for us! But for some children they grow up without being thankful, or grateful and they in turn take on a mindset of entitlement – selfishness - greediness.
Usually toddlers learn this valuable art form of speech and attitude through repetition and good parenting skills. They learn it also by example! Usually eager to please toddlers learn this art form of communication with others. But the teen years hit and all bets are off on the art of “Thank You” but most people will come back to some semblance of this art form as they grow into adults. Notice most but not all! As we grow into adulthood the amount of appreciation we express, and our ability to sincerely say “Thank You” has a dramatic impact on how we relate to others. It will have a powerful impact on our marriages, our families, our church, our communities, our places of work and school.
Researchers Adam Grant and Francesco Gino studied the impact of a sincere “Thank You” in the workplace. Their findings showed a 50% percent increase in the performance and help from their employees who were appreciated. In a related experiment by these same researchers they found that when a director of an organization personally thanked half the staff for their contribution to the company there was a 50% increase in sales by the 50% group who was thanked for their hard work. Do you see the power of “Thank You?”
There have been numerous other experiments showing the same result – there is power in the words of “Thank You” this simple phrase has the ability to improve relationships and even job performance.
So the first lesson on the art of “Thank You” is this if you want a more positive and healthy environment around you learn the art of “Thank You!”
• Do you want a better work environment say “Thank You!”
• Do you want a more eager work team say “Thank You!”
• Do you want a more successful business say “Thank You!”
• Do you want better relationships and friendship say “Thank You”
• Do you want a better marriage say “Thank You!”
• Do you want a better church say “Thank You” to those who serve you each week – the nursery workers, elders, deacons, kids church workers, Awana workers, bible teachers, youth workers, ushers – I am not talking just about us pastors – but Thank You for all your notes, lunches and gifts of appreciation to us as pastors in the month of October!
Maybe you have never developed the art of “Thank You” so here are few ways you can say and develop the art of “Thank You.”
Say things like the following:
• Words are powerless to express my gratitude!
• Please accept my best thanks!
• Thanks for taking the time for me!
• All my love and thanks!
• It was awesome of you!
• What would I do without you!
• I appreciate your time and effort!
I pray you get the idea of why we chose the theme this month of “The Art of “Thank You?”
These two words have the power to create a positive environment around us if they come from the heart. It’s really a condition of your heart – it’s the difference between a heart filled with gratitude and love and a heart filled with self-centeredness and entitlement!
T.S. - What does your heart look like – Grateful or Hateful?
I. The truth is a lot of powerful things happen when we sincerely say “Thank You!”
a. The most obvious is you feel good about yourself because of thoughtfulness to another but it goes deeper than that – it impacts our spiritual realm!
i. The Thanker:
1. Produces a positive emotional state from within!
2. Increases a sense of well being that life is good!
3. Triggers ‘feel good’ hormones that make you feel good!
4. Re-enforces the virtuous cycle in your brain of doing kind things for others!
ii. The Thankee:
1. Feels higher levels of self-worth from this kind act of gratitude.
2. Triggers a greater desire to help the Thanker and others.
3. Triggers helpful behaviors toward others.
4. Appreciates being needed and recognized for their contribution to life.
5. Feels more socially valued by the person and by others.
b. Let’s ponder a moment some quotes on Thankfulness:
i. Rosie Cash: “Just a ‘Thank You’ is a mighty powerful prayer. Says it all!”
ii. William Arthur Ward: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “Thank You!”
iii. Harry Ironside: “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
iv. Ralph Marston: Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.
1. Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/thank_you.html
T.S. - Let’s look at the Art of “Thank You” from scripture when a king thanked the Lord for his healing, his nations protection and for another 15 years of life:
2. King Hezekiah and the art of “Thank You” with God
a. Scripture Text: Isaiah 38:1-21 -- Hezekiah’s Illness
i. 1In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” 2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3“Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: 5“Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. 7“‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: 8I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down. 9A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:10I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?”11I said, “I will not again see the LORD, the LORD, in the land of the living; no longer will I look on mankind, or be with those who now dwell in this world.12Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.13I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me.14I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”15But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.16Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.17Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. 18For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.19The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. 20The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD. 21Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.”
b. As I read about King Hezekiah of Judah we see a king with a grateful – a thankful heart to the Lord. I guess we could say nothing brings out gratefulness like a reprieve from imminent death. Would you not agree?
i. It’s interesting to notice that Hezekiah was a good king - a godly king who did honor God with his life and His reign as King of Judah.
1. You might be thinking “What did he do?” (the following answer comes from https://gotquestions.org/life-Hezekiah.html).
a. Hezekiah was one of the few kings of Judah who was constantly aware of God’s acts in the past and His involvement in the events of every day. The Bible describes Hezekiah as a king who had a close relationship with God, one who did “what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 31:20).
b. After Ahaz’s wicked reign (his father), there was much work to do, and Hezekiah boldly cleaned house. Pagan altars, idols, and temples were destroyed. The bronze serpent that Moses had made in the desert (Numbers 21:9) was also destroyed, because the people had made it an idol (2 Kings 18:4). The temple in Jerusalem, whose doors had been nailed shut by Hezekiah’s own father, was cleaned out and reopened. The Levitical priesthood was reinstated (2 Chronicles 29:5), and the Passover was reinstituted as a national holiday (2 Chronicles 30:1). Under Hezekiah’s reforms, revival came to Judah.
c. Because King Hezekiah put God first in everything he did, God prospered him. Hezekiah “held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook” (2 Kings 18:6–7).
d. He set himself up by the way for a miracle by how he lived and how he reigned!
ii. He learns that his life is about to end from the prophet of God - his illness which he has is terminal and it is going to take his life and usher him into heaven! Many Christians at this point in life say, “I am ready to go Lord!” But King Hezekiah is not ready to go to Heaven - So he does what good godly people do in a situation like this - He turns to the wall and prays!
1. There is prayer wall in Jerusalem called the Western Wall were Jewish people pray today and leave prayer requests in its cracks.
a. It is also called the “wailing wall!”
2. When you are faced with crisis like an illness that leads to death what do you do? Shake your fist at God or turn to the wall and pray and wail for God’s mercy?
a. Hezekiah prayed a pivotal prayer:
i. A pivotal prayer comes in that fox hole moment in life when it’s critical – it’s a life and death type of prayer!
ii. I read a great book on Pivotal Praying years ago called “Pivotal Praying” by John Hull and Tim Elmore.
1. The summary of the book from Amazon: We all face critical forks in the road-marriage, the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, or a personal health crisis. How are we to pray at these junctures? Perhaps our instinct is to send up a quick "911" prayer, but authors John Hull and Tim Elmore demonstrate how by praying the right prayer at the right time, we can see the incredible impact of what God can do.
2. Scripture offers countless examples of men and women who prayed strategically and saw results. Remember Solomon's prayer for wisdom? He received it-and wealth beyond his imagination as well. And how about Hannah's desire for a child? God honored her prayer; her son Samuel became the greatest judge in Israel's history.
3. King Hezekiah prays a pivotal prayer and within his prayer Hezekiah does a few crucial things we need to notice:
a. He reminds God of how he has faithfully served him in his reign and life. How he has placed him 1st!
i. Could you do this type of fox hole prayer with God?
ii. Could you say to him, “You have always been first God!”
b. He reminded God of his wholehearted devotion to God in a society and place that had rejected God and His words and ways.
i. He did what Jesus said to do “Love God with our whole heart, mind and soul” the Greatest commandment!
ii. Could you in one of these moment say that to God?
c. He reminds God how he has done GOOD in a land filled with evil.
i. So with his spiritual legacy recap to God -- he asks God to give him a longer life – do you recall were Jesus says for us to ask God for things? This is that type of situation for King Hezekiah he is asking for a miracle!
4. Gods response to his prayer is as follows:
a. “I heard your prayer” – by the way God always does hear our prayers!
b. “I have seen your tears” – your broken heart and know God does have compassion for us! Like when Jesus wept!
c. “I am going to add 15 years to your life!”
i. What – you may be thinking --- Really? God can do that give me more time?
d. “Not only will I add 15 years to your life - I will protect you from the Super power in the area for this time too for honoring me and my name.”
i. God says I will defend you and your city! You will li9ve in peace for these 15 years!
e. Then the Lord gives him a sign to prove His promise of healing, longer life and national protection.
i. The miracle is the sun’s shadow goes back 10 steps?
1. Yes, the sun’s shadow went the opposite direction it should have!
ii. Why this miracle?
1. It’s a sign to say God controls “Time” and the movement of the Sun symbolizes time.
2. God is saying “I have the power over your time and your lifespan!”
a. “You get 15 more years for your faithfulness!”
5. King Hezekiah is blown away by the prophet’s words - especially that God heard his prayer - saw his tears and granted him 15 more years.
a. Question to ponder: If God gave you another 15 years of life what would you do with it?
c. But here is what I want to draw your attention too this morning - King Hezekiah was genuinely “Thank full” how do I know the next 20 verses are a “Thank you” note to God. Listen to the art of “Thank You” from King Hezekiah to God:
i. He shares his story, his cry for more life, for healing, for protection and he shares how God answered especially how God spoke to him through the prophet.
ii. He highlights how God on the throne of Heaven sent Him a personal message of healing, longer life and protection.
iii. He recaps the turn of events for all to hear “WHY?” it’s his testimony of God’s miracle and God’s intervention in his life – It’s also his “Thank You” note to God.
iv. He commits in this “Thank You” note to never forget the mercy and grace of God.
v. He humbles himself - he chooses to lose his pride in this note to God and for others to read and hear - he knows that this moment in his life is a dark night of the soul but in it God uses it to bring forth a miracle - A Healing
vi. He thanks God for his granted prayer request and notes this is how people should live.
vii. He thanks God for lifting his spirit.
viii. He thanks God for restoring his health.
ix. He thanks God for the pivotal faith moment and for even the anguish it brought because God’s miracle and promises were worth it all.
x. He thanks God for His love and how it keeps him calm in the storms of life.
xi. He thanks God for forgiving his sins!
1. By the way this is a big deal with God!
xii. He is giving God praise for life - for promises of protection - he compares himself to those who die and are caught in the grave of no life - no hope-no love and he praises God for being able to praise him the rest of his life.
xiii. He thanks God for how he can tell this story to all - to the children and his children - really even to us today as we are hearing this story of King Hezekiah.
xiv. He thanks God for saving him.
xv. He thanks God for how he is healed and restored with 15 years more of life.
1. Have you ever from your heart “Thanked” God!
So here is the key concluding lesson of Hezekiah’s story for this day and even for this month - We see “The Art of Thank You” as a powerful tool to change our life and our environment. By learning to practice this art form each day changes the day, our attitude of the day, our heart, the atmosphere of the day and the hearts of God and others.
So we must humble ourselves and learn to write thank you notes to God, say thank you and do the same to others because in it there is power to transform our environments and our lives.
Challenge for the week:
Have you ever written God a thank you note? Do one this week and give it to God next week at the altar.
Do you say “Thank You” to others? Start this week by thanking others for what they do for you!
The “Thank You” bombing challenge for the month of November.
Pray for those who need to have a heart change and the courage to say “Thank You!”