The Power of Magic Words


For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Romans 1:21

As children we are taught that some words are magic.  You know what I mean.  Words like “please” and “thank you”.  As adults we know those words aren’t magic, but just like magic they can certainly open doors for you.  It is polite to say “thank you” when someone does something for us.  But we know it’s not about the words.  It’s about the messages those simple words carry.

When we say “thank you”, we agree that we were not owed what we received; that someone gave us a gift.  You don’t say thank you for being repaid a loan (unless you thought you might not be repaid).  If anything, when we say “thank you” we are now the ones in debt.  We owe the “debt of gratitude” to whoever blessed us.

When we say “thank you”, we agree, in, that instance, that we are less powerful, less wealthy, or less capable than the person who helped us.  They did something valuable for us that we could not, or had not, done for ourselves.  They were the provider.  We were the ones provided for.

To be thankful is an act of humility.  It is a moment when we acknowledge that other people can do things for us and that we are not complete, in an of ourselves.

No wonder people like for us to tell them “thank you”.  It conveys all manner of good messages.  And no wonder people don’t like it when we fail to say “thank you”.  That is when we deliver the opposite communication.  That is when we say we are owed more than we received, that we are superior to those who gave to us, and that we do not need anything from others.

When we fail to say “thank you” to other people, it’s rude.  When we fail to say it to God, it’s deadly.  Romans 1 goes on to describe the swift fall into darkness awaiting those who take this attitude towards God.  As deep as that darkness goes, it all starts with simply failing to be thankful.

Today, let’s acknowledge God’s generosity and Lordship, and our own helplessness.  Let us say “thank you” to God, and walk in the light.