Henry Van Dyke said, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
The Shunnamite woman demonstrated this quote’s relevancy (2 Kings 4:18-37). When her young son suddenly died, she immediately sent for Elisha. God’s power, at work through the prophet, resurrected the boy. How did the mother respond? “She fell at his [Elisha’s} feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.”
The mother felt overwhelming gratitude for the kindness received and expressed it by bowing at Elisha’s feet. Note that she did so before she gathered her son in her arms. Stopping to demonstrate her thankfulness first must have required significant restraint.
How do we respond when others show kindness to us? Do we take action and express thanksgiving to them? Hopefully the answer’s yes. Writing a note or making a phone call to say thanks takes only a few minutes. That’s time well spent.
Let’s become people who not only experience gratitude but who also express it—no matter how large or small the kind act shown.