I sometimes mishandle someone’s thanksgiving. Let me illustrate:
ThankfulPerson: “Adam, thank you for doing this and that” (they are usually more specific)
Me: “How dare you offer thanks to me! That will only thwart my plans for constant humility!” (I am usually less specific).
That’s what we do sometimes. We are thanked for something but we don’t want to receive it, so we try and put it back on them, as if we are teaching them to not thank us. It would be like a nice lady offering me some pie, only for me to push it into their face, saying “sure, everyone likes pie, but I’m trying to come across as a guy who doesn’t need pie, so here ya go”.
The proper response, I think, is to say something like “you’re welcome” or “I am glad to do it, thank YOU for your appreciation”. Maybe we have a hard time saying this because we know deep down that sometimes our motives aren’t pure or that we did a slacker job. Perhaps someone thanking us immediately brings to mind our brokenness, that if they knew who we really were they would be spitting on the ground we walk on. Or maybe it’s just poor self-image. I don’t know.
This is why God has absolutely no problem receiving thanks. When I say “God, thank You for life, not just the fact that I’m breathing the air You created but that I have experienced new life in Christ and that my soul breathes the air of the Holy Spirit”, He doesn’t say “awww, it ain’t no big deal”. He instead says “I love you, that’s why I did it”. The thanks is received. And rightly so.
We get so mad when someone gets the credit (the thanks) for something we did. Yet we hesitate to receive thanks. How strange. When we see ourselves as image bearers of God, that we are loved, that Jesus is the sustainer of the universe and forgiver of sins, and that we will be forever giving thanks to Him, it’s easier to say “you’re welcome”. In the grand scheme of things, we are all little thanksgivers and thanksreceivers under the Big ThanksReceiver, God, who makes this whole thing work out in the first place. And He has no problem receiving our Thanks, because His motives are pure, He is Holy, and credit is abundantly due.
Be thankful to God and to others. Receive thanks from others, and point them to God.