Please And Thank You

Monday, June 13, 2016
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Listen while you read: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"1 (Lyrics)

Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

Have you noticed lately a growing trend among store clerks to drop those "three little magic words": "please" and "thank you"? The cashier simply states what we owe, with no eye contact and no smile. If she were a child, we'd prompt her by leaning in and quietly tacking on "please". Hopefully, she'd obediently repeat it. But the cashier is an adult. We can't do that for fear of offending her — even though she's just offended us. We can hardly call the manager because she didn't say "please". Isn't it tempting to refuse to say "thank you" when handed our change? Or perhaps we could leave our shopping there and walk away indignantly? Instead, we find ourselves saying "thank you". But we vow never to shop there again.

It's human nature to want to retaliate. Do we really believe that if we dropped a note to the manager, anything would change? We might decide that they didn't deserve our patronage and boycott the store. But if the store is large and convenient, we usually return and hope for a more pleasant clerk to serve us.

Sometimes, we feel that we're overworked and under-appreciated. We don't see any results of our labour. We become discouraged and resentful, and we take it out on those close to us, those we serve.

We often forget that's why we're all here: to serve one another, as a salesperson, a mother, a doctor, a teacher, or in any other capacity. The Bible tells us to treat others as we'd like to be treated ourselves. Be polite, respectful, honest, and cheerful. No work is unimportant in God's eyes. Whether it's our career, or "just a job", or volunteer work, it's our attitude that counts.

We're God's ambassadors — His hands and feet in this world. We're supposed to be different; the Bible says that we're "set apart". So let's persevere. Let's keep going, keep trying, not in our own strength, but in God's. Let's continue to be cheerful and respectful, even when someone is rude or demanding. Let's stay focused on what we're here for: to serve, with humility, as Jesus did.

Prayer: Lord, too often, we blame our behaviour on a "bad day". Or we'd like to retaliate, or quit trying. But a smile, a kind word, or a helpful hand can make all the difference to someone else. We don't often see the seeds we've sown, but one day, we will. Help us to remember the Golden Rule, and let others see Jesus in us. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good Word.

    Thank you.

    Good words JJ.

    Thanks for the great story and reminder,

    Thank you for sharing this devotional with us and for the reminder that being polite should be a knee-jerk response for us. Blessings.

    Thanks, Graham.
    Will take a copy of reading,
    and leave at David’s when I go to my eye apt. today.

    Hello JJ:
    “Let others see Jesus in us” — what a wonderful prayer that is. Thank you for sending it my way this morning.

    Thank you for this reminder that everyday ordinary kindness is important. Sadly, it seems our present day society has turned into a selfish and rude one.

    JJ, that’s a good principle. The more common problem I run into now is when I say thank you to a store clerk, they say “no problem!” I haven’t come up with a cheerful rejoinder that doesn’t sound sarcastic. But I try!

    Dear JJ:
    You have no idea how much I needed to read these words you wrote today and let them sink in!
    Thank you so much for you encouragement. Thank you for reminding me that God loves me.
    May our Lord bless you and yours bountifully.

    So very true JJ. Our world is increasingly becoming more and more rude. It reminds me of a verse of scripture, that talks about, as the time grows nearer,that bad will get worse while the holy will become more holy. So let’s just keep doing what is right in God’s sight no matter what, just as you have encouraged us to.

    Dear JJ: I enjoyed reading the content subject of this morning’s Devotional. Your subject was well-taken since social graces are certainly lacking even with the people we know, today’s public and in our community, and you described two of the examples.
    May our God continue to bless you real good.

    Dear JJ Ollerenshaw,
    The ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are so culturally related that we do not know how they are taken and received, and spoken or unspoken by the many immigrant people (and Canada-grown) we are encountering in 2016 here in Canada.
    We can keep on keeping on, being courteous and kindly in the best ways we know, regardless of how other persons behave.
    As Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
    How did Jesus show respect?
    Keep writing JJ.

    Thanks for this amazing devotion today.
    How ironic, only last week I experience this behavior, I was returning from a trip and going through the check out counter at the immigration desk, sitting in my wheelchair the attendant checked my passport, she never made any eye contact, upon returning my passport, I thanked her! She completely ignored me. I thanked her again, in a louder yet very nice tone to get her attention, she barely said you are welcome!! I smiled and said you have lovely hair! It was at this point she made a forced smile and said a more civil thank you. I said to myself, she really hate her job!!
    It made me more thankful to my God, who is always so gracious and loving to all of us.
    Have a blessed week my friend in Christ and thank you for writing these reassuring inspirational devotions, a reminder that things are changing around us so fast.
    Continued blessings!

    Dear JJ,
    Thanks for the devotional.
    Let’s continue to be cheerful and respectful, even when someone is rude or demanding.
    Yes, and let us “return good for evil,” as the Good Book says.
    Keep writing,

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