Oct 9, 2016 Sermon: "Say Thank You"
Today's message is based on Luke 17: 11-19

If I want to show appreciation to the lector or ushers or anyone helping out here this morning,….
the simple and obvious words I’d use would be “Thank you”.
That’s generally the expected and hoped for response to an act of kindness.
To say ‘Thank you’ shows our appreciation for something we’ve received.
It acknowledges what the person did for us and that we are grateful.
It also highlights the fact that they had choice on whether or not to do so for us.

Can you all please just say those two simple words for me - ‘Thank you’.
Saying ‘Thank you’ returns kindness for kindness instead of taking it for granted.
They are magical words that can make only good things happen.
Saying ‘Thank you’ is critical to our relationships with other persons.
Without ‘Thank yous’ a relationship does not flourish or thrive.

To begin with; saying ‘Thank you’ helps us find new relationships with people.
If someone does even the smallest favor,…‘Thank you’ makes it more possible to start a new friendship, while no ‘Thank you’ probably kills any chance of that.

Saying ‘Thank you’ also helps remind us of our dependence on others.
No person is an island and we all not only like, but depend on favors all the time.
By saying ‘Thank you’ we acknowledge that we need other people sometimes.

And saying ‘Thank you’ helps to bind us more closely with another person.
A relationship, like a plant, needs to be nurtured with loving words and actions.
Saying ‘Thank you’ is like watering a thirsty plant in the relationships we have.

And not only is a ‘Thank you’ good for the other person in a relationship,…
It’s also good for you, since saying ‘Thank you’ enhances the chances that the other person will do for you again in the future.
While not saying ‘Thank you’ pretty much ensures the chance they won’t.

Thank you is a nice word in any language.
When we went to Italy, we tried to learn a few words in Italian.
One we learned is the word ‘Grazia’, which is Italian for…..‘’Thank you’.
We used that a lot during our trip and it helped, as you can imagine.
Yet, doesn’t the word ‘Grazia’ sound a little like the church word ‘Grace’.

My wife also wants us to go to France someday; then we’ll have speak French.
The word for ‘Thank you’ in French is ‘Merci’.
Doesn’t that sound like another word we use talking about God, which is ‘Mercy’.
To show grace and mercy is to use our power to either give or withhold kindness.

So saying ‘Thank you’ is a good way of returning kindness with kindness.
It helps start, and sustain, and strengthen relationships.
And by being grateful, we enhance chances of receiving kindness in the future.

Since saying ‘Thank you’ is good for relationships with other persons…… 
how do you think saying ‘Thank you’ affects our relationship with God?
I want us to think of God as another person.
A person who has feelings, and needs, and wants, just like the rest of us do.

We often talk about how God shows us grace and mercy in our lives.
How, through Jesus, God loves and blesses and forgives us of our sins.
How God, in his grace and mercy promises us salvation, or life beyond death.
Well just as much as we want/need to hear ‘Thank you’ in daily life,…..
So does God want/need(?) to hear that from us in his daily life.

We have evidence of that from today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke.
Since Jesus was God incarnate (in the flesh) let’s think of God; the person.
Jesus wanted and appreciated it when people thanked him.
In the story about the ten lepers who were healed, but only one said ‘Thank you’.
Jesus asked the one who came back,’Where are the rest that I helped?
And he was clearly disappointed that none of the others bothered to do so.

A ‘Thank you’ to God does the same for him as when we say it to someone.
It can help us find a relationship with God that maybe we’ve lost or ignored.
It can help us be reminded of the fact that we’re dependent on God for everything
And it helps to bind us closer to the God who always shows us grace and mercy.

The world has lots of problems and flaws and our lives are less than perfect.
But we all have much to be grateful to God for.
So let’s all try to say ‘Thank you’ to each other a little more than we do.
But also let us all try to say ‘Thank you’ to God a bit more often.
Thank you’ for loving and caring us,…for listening to and being with us,…
and for forgiving and saving us from the abyss of death.
When we thank God for his grace and mercy, he’ll feel good and so will we.

Amen