"If you don't write a Thank You note, they won't get you anything next year."
How many of us heard that growing up?
In the process of learning manners, we mistakenly see gratitude become payment for other people's generosity. And if it teaches us manners, it isn't that bad ... at first.
But what happens when someone does something for you that's huge? A six pack of underwear, great gift ... Thank You note. A down payment for a house ... three years of weekly mentoring ... salvation from sin and death ... these stand on a different order. If gratitude becomes payment, I'm up to my eyeballs in debt.
Gratitude unencumbered becomes beautiful. The giver and the receiver feel blessed.
Gratitude turned to repayment feels cheap. It makes us feel cheap. I feel cheap writing a Thank You note for a house down payment. I feel cheap saying "Thanks" for years of mentoring. I find myself adding obedience and mission to my attempts to pay for salvation ... and losing sight of God's grace.
When gratitude becomes payment, we stop communicating gratitude ... to other people and to God. Have you seen this?
How can we keep gratitude from becoming payment?