by Michael E. Brooks
“…pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
My favorite Nepali song is a simple chorus called “Dhanyabhad, Iaysu,” or “Thank you, Jesus.” In five brief stanzas it proclaims, “I thank you, Jesus, from my heart; I praise the Lord from my heart; I exalt the Lord from my heart,” etc.
I say this is my favorite Nepali song; in actual fact it is the only one which I can actually sing completely. But even if I had a large repertoire, this one would still be special. Not because it is particularly beautiful of melody or compelling in words. Rather, I love it because it says about all that needs to be said, very simply and well.
The word “dhanyabhad” (pronounced don-ya-bhad) in Nepali is fascinating, because it is a recent invention. Until lately there was simply no word in the language for “thank you.” Only when outsiders came in was the concept recognized, and thus the need for its expression met. It seems that gratitude is not a natural emotion. It must be taught. And few if any philosophies or religions teach it so emphatically as Christianity.
We give thanks because we recognize the good done to us by others, and our need for and dependence upon such good. Gratitude is proof of unselfishness, in that a selfish person is so focused upon his own desires he has no room to recognize others, even as contributors. His selfishness precludes even the realization of his dependence. He rather considers it to be his right or due to receive that which he wants.
“Thank you, Jesus” thus asserts our faith in Christ as the one who has given us good things, and it further asserts that he is under no obligation to present them to us. Through gratitude we offer our willing recognition that we are unworthy, but needful. And even beyond this, we thank Jesus because what he gives us is so much greater than any other gifts from any other person. He did it all for us. We owe it all to him. Thank you, Jesus!
by Michael E. Brooks