Summary: You may not have any money but you can have manners. You may be poor but you can be polite. Everybody ought to learn to say, “Thank you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 / Thank You
15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
17Pray without ceasing.
18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The mark of a cultured person is measured by what society calls etiquette. We are characterized as either polite or impolite, as rude or refined, by our ability or inability to make proper use of etiquette. Etiquette says there are certain responses to certain situations. If you ask a favor, it is anticipated that you’ll follow up your request with the word “Please.”
If you make a mistake, you indicate your error by saying “My apology.” If you interrupt others, either in their conversation or in their activity, it’s correct to say, “Excuse me." And if someone does something for you, in response to his or her kindness you ought to say “Thank you.” That is the lesson of etiquette.
I bring this to your attention today because we are living in a selfish world. We are living in a world that has lost nearly all sense of order. People will run over you and never look back to say, “Excuse me.” Folk will hurt you and never apologize.
They will ask the world of you and expect you to give it without every saying a word called, “Please.” There are those who will take you and everything about you for granted and never once says, “Thank you.”
And of all the breeches of etiquette, of all the bad manners, I don’t know of one that cuts more deeply than one’s failure to say “Thank you.” You may have all the positions you want, your financial resources may be better than others, your attainments may be above your peers, but if you don’t have enough sense to say “Thank you,” something is still wrong with you.
It may be there are those who are unaware that they ought to say it. They don’t ever worry about why things happen or what causes things to come into place. Far as they know it’s always been there. Far as they know it’s always been like this. So they’re unaware of the obligation to say “Thank you” because in their thinking you haven’t done anything. (LAB)
And this is why God told the Hebrews in the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy to teach diligently their children. Remind them of the way he had made for them. That they weren’t always in a land flowing with milk and honey; but they had to live among snakes and scorpions.
Had to live among insects on the ground and in the air. God said tell them so they won’t forget. Tell them so they won’t mistreat what they have. And one of the problems in society today among young people is nobody is anything.
History is not being taught; heritage is not being emphasized –in home. Did you hear what I said? It is not merely the schools job to teach your child, training begins in the home. Self-worth starts in the home. Love for self, love for your community, love for your people should first be taught in the home.
So young people take for granted the right to vote, cause you won’t tell your story. They take for granted the right to be able to check in at a Sheraton hotel, cause you haven’t told them about the Dunbar. They look pass the elders because gratitude is not taught on how the elders opened the door for many of the things they enjoy.
They take for granted what you appreciate because they’ve always had it and many of them haven’t been told no different. And so many just don’t know that they ought to say, “Thank you.” Many just don’t know that their life ought to reflect gratitude and not an attitude.
Then there may be those who are just unable to say it. Thank you is not apart of their vocabulary. They have a hard time expressing thanks. But how I was taught, the way I was raised if you can’t say “Thank you,” that’s a bad reflection of your upbringing and your home training. And the one thing you didn’t do was make your people ashamed in public. You may not have any money but you can have manners. You may be poor but you can be polite. Everybody ought to learn to say, “Thank you.”
In the text Paul is addressing his letter to a very young church in Thessalonica, hence the name Thessalonians. The church at Thessalonica was founded in the midst of great and active opposition. And they feared that Paul’s continuance in the city could only bring death; so the brethren sent him away. So in order that their hope might be sustained in the midst of persecution Paul sent them a letter about Christian etiquette.