It was a rare event, almost as if those watching had
travelled several decades back in time. It was a quick and simple interaction
that left the waiter pleasantly surprised and wishing more people were like the
young man he had just served. It
happened in a small town restaurant. The young man who had just been seated was
approached by the waiter who offered him a cup of coffee. The young man responded with these five
words; “Yes sir, please, thank you.”
The waiter had become so accustomed to customers just
grunting, saying, “yeah” and sometimes including a “please” or “thank you”, but
this patron pulled out all the stops. Although
the waiter enjoyed the respect and pleasantness that the young man brought to
the diner, those five words probably did more for the patron than they did for
“Yes sir”, reminded the young man that he should
value the person who was about to bring him his breakfast.
“Please”, reminded him that he was not better
than the waiter and that he did not have a right to be demanding or demeaning.
“Thank you”, reminded the young man that he was
being blessed by being served and that not a lot of people in the world have
the luxury of drinking coffee at a nice breakfast cafe.
While it may be true to say that “kind” people are polite, one
could make a good case that being polite is what makes people kind. What someone says changes how others think
about them. With that in mind, a wise
person will not wait for everything to be perfect before expressing their
respect and appreciation. Instead they
will express respect and appreciation in order to savor the goodness of life
and in order to insure that goodness can spill over into the lives of those
around them. Such kindness will not go
unnoticed, and its greatest benefit may go to the person going of their way to
express that kindness
As we approach Thanksgiving, we would do well to recognize
that we do not thank God and others just to be polite, we do it in order that
we might fully enjoy what we have been given by choosing to be grateful rather
than greedy, demanding or grumpy. This
principle holds true in all our conversations with God. When we pray, our approach will not only
affect how God hears us, but it will affect the way we experience life.
We worship God to remind ourselves who He is.
We say “please” when we pray because it reminds us that God
owes us nothing.
We thank God for what He has done, not to talk Him into
continuing to be nice, because He will be good no matter what we say or
do. We say “thank you” to remind
ourselves that God blesses us in many ways.
When we thank Him properly it help us redirect our minds from all the
things we think we need or all the things that we wish were going better toward
all the things He has provided and all the situations that have gone well.
Give it a try.
Be polite in order to adjust your own spirit rather than being polite in
order to please or impress others.
Thanksgiving isn’t just a day to overeat and root for your ball team; it
is a day to adjust our attitudes and savor everything that is good about life, knowing
that they are all undeserved gifts. The next time God does something for you or
makes you an offer, say something like, “Yes
sir, please… thank you.”