Gratitude and Graciousness 2 Samuel 9 by Pastor Don
Pastor Don gave this Bible study the day before Thanksgiving so he gave some history about our country that might be interesting for you.
A year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the first settlers that came to our country landed at a place on the shores of the James River, that was later called the Berkeley Plantation, but they didn’t have as big a publicity agent as Plymouth Rock. When they landed, 12 or 15 men got off of the boat, hit the ground, and gave thanks. They declared that day a Thanksgiving Day for God, for a safe journey across the ocean. But they also were thanking God for this land. The captain of the ship, in his opening prayer, dedicated this land to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Berkeley Plantation didn’t get notoriety because a few years after that they came under attack by the Indians and much of the plantation was destroyed. Twelve or thirteen people died in this attack, the rest left for a while, leaving the plantation uncared for. A few years later they started to rebuild Berkeley Plantation and about 138 people built a settlement there.
Pastor Don told us that Berkeley Plantation is a beautiful place and some of the foundations of the original houses are there. He and Cynthia found the Plantation by chance. In the past they had always gone to Williamsburg. But a lot of times when you go to Williamsburg you don’t look at the deeper history and some of the main tourist sites get notoriety. Pastor Don asked one of the Williamsburg tour guides where the first Thanksgiving occurred. The tour guide told him everybody thinks it was up in Massachusetts, but it was actually at Berkeley Plantation a year before the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock celebrated. Pastor Don and Cynthia went to Berkeley Plantation, which is a little further down the James River than the popular spots. The Plantation has archived records and statues. Historians have verified its history. So the United States was dedicated at the Berkeley Plantation a year before Plymouth Rock.
Pastor Don asked us to turn to 2 Samuel 9 so we could get some spiritual food in us. In Second Samuel we pick up the story of King David. King David was very successful because he knew how to both praise God and give thanks to God. He had never lost track of the reality of where he came from. Therefore he was grateful for where he was, but he also had a sense of respect and honor for the graciousness of God that had brought him to a special place.
The graciousness of God can be lined up with the mercy of God. We say God is merciful and gracious unto us in some of our hymns, Psalms, etc. The word “mercy” is another word for kindness, or an extension of niceties to people. But the graciousness of God goes beyond that. In kindness, you may spare someone harm, but if you are going to be gracious to them you are going to give them something which takes them, not just from harm, but also empowers them. So when we say, “that God has been gracious to me or has shown me grace,” it means that He has shown you not only mercy, but He has also gone one step better. He has empowered you and placed you in position to do something about your circumstances and your situation. Now, inherent in that definition is a reality that, if the person realizes someone has been gracious to them, they respond to that graciousness with a wonderful attribute –GRATITUDE. In other words, if someone has been gracious to you, the next expression after that graciousness should be gratitude. You expect an attitude of gratitude especially when someone shows you kindness. But if that kindness has empowered you, as graciousness does, the response should be one of gratitude expressed.
Sadly there are people that do not have the capacity to express gratitude. It’s unfortunate. But there are people, that, because of their pain or their personal stuff, find it difficult to express gratitude. It’s difficult for them to acknowledge their own shortness, weakness, or limitations. Therefore when they have been treated graciously, there’s no gratitude coming back. Gratitude is something we try to teach or instill into our children. We tell little kids to be polite and say, “Please.” Yet “please” isn’t as important as “thank you” is. “Please” can still leave the door open for lack of gratitude. With “please,” you are asking for something to be bestowed upon you. But it is actually gratitude that reflects your response to graciousness.
So, for the most part, we would much rather see an expression of gratitude than an expression of politeness. I may be very polite if I say, “Janine, please give me a pen.” It’s wonderful that I was polite about it, because I said, “please.” But after I get it, there’s the potential for Janine to be taken for granted. Yes I said, “please” but if I don’t respond with graciousness, I’m not grateful. I need to extend graciousness to her. Graciousness empowers her. When I say “thank you,” I have empowered her. Because, I have expressed her greatness to me and her ability to have solved a situation, or pleased a situation, or breathed something into it and therefore she feels better having done it because of my gratitude, my graciousness.
Empowerment is very simply this. When you acknowledge that someone has done something for you and that you appreciate it, you are basically saying to that person, “You did something for me that I didn’t do, or couldn’t do for myself. Therefore in this relationship, it is implied that they are the greater one. So if I say, “Thank you for baking the bread,” well, what am I saying? I’m saying that you accomplished something that I did not do myself and therefore I am grateful to you.
The word “grace” implies the greater one did something for the lesser one. And therefore, the greater one has further empowered himself because the lesser then shows gratitude to the one who provided it. That’s why grace and the full understanding of it is so important. (Heather’s note: Pastor Don is in the process of writing a book about Grace. When it comes out I will let you know.) Part of the Greek definition for the word “grace” is gratitude. To be gracious to someone will cause gratitude to be made manifest. If I’m gracious to you, if I do something for you in a graceful manner and it blesses you, your response should be one gratitude. When you show gratitude to a person who’s done something for you, they become elevated.
For example, Jesus comes on the scene and the blind man, Bartimaeus says, “Son of David, have mercy on me. Son of David, have mercy on me.” When we look up the Greek word for “mercy” in this passage, we realize that Bartimaeus is asking the Lord Jesus Christ for a grace. He is saying, “Lord Jesus be gracious to me. Show me a grace.” And we know that a grace is a gift and a power. Jesus shows Bartimaeus the grace of healing, the response from Bartimaeus in terms of graciousness is to show gratitude. The demoniac of the Gaderines, wants to be set free. Jesus sets him free. His response to Jesus, immediately after receiving the grace of deliverance was, “Let me go travel with you.” And Jesus’ response was, “No, go to your own people in your own town and tell them the wondrous, gracious things that God has done for you. What were these two men expressing, they were expressing that the Greater One blessed a lesser one, and therefore, gratitude and gratefulness was made manifest.
Gratitude shows the content of the heart. If someone is gracious to you, and you do not express gratitude, in your heart you are not accepting the fact that someone greater than you has blessed you. When graciousness or grace is given, the recipient should always express or make manifest gratitude. Gratitude is very different from, “Please.” Please is just politeness. I can say “please” because I want to get what I want and still be an ungrateful person. Can you see the difference? It is a matter of the heart, we are taught to say,”Please,” but that does not mean they are thankful or grateful. The reality of the situation is there are a lot of people who will say “please” to get what they want, but they won’t turn around and say, “Thank you,” and be grateful.
Someone mentioned that, for many, the two hardest words to say are “thank you.” Pastor Don says that the reason is, when you say “thank you,” your response is humbling. It’s just innate that when I say, “thank you” I am humbling myself because you did something for me. That’s why, although it is important to teach children to say “please”, the most important lesson you need to teach the child is to be gracious. Can you get them to learn to say, “Thank you”? Why do we look for “thank you?” We look for that because we are created in the image of God. After God blesses us and gives us grace, God is expecting a thank you. Here’s why, the Greater One (God) is not obligated to give grace. So when He extends grace to us, “thank you” is in order.
Someone brought up the healing Jesus did for the ten lepers, and commented that only one came back to thank Jesus. Pastor Don said, so what does Jesus express to the one? He says, “OK, well, you’ve been blessed, go your way and be healed,” which sort of implies that the nine will probably lose their healing somewhere along the way. Because why? They didn’t have the right response, which was the healing grace they received should manifest gratitude. Gratitude is inherent in the word “gracious.” Gratitude is a very powerful thing. You can measure the way people are by what’s in their hearts. A lot of times we make the mistake of wanting people to be polite to us, but politeness is not necessarily an expression of gratitude. Because, you say, “please, please, please,” doesn’t mean you are grateful, it means you are begging. But when you say, “thank you, thank you, thank you,“ you are praising. That’s why, inherent in what we are going to be able to get from God, is this natural relationship of the power of praise. Praise is more powerful than begging, because in praise we’re giving adoration, we’re giving thanks, we’re giving gratitude. We’re reaching back to God with, “Thank you Lord, thank you, thank you.” God is then acknowledged as being the Greater One, He’s acknowledged as being the stronger one, He’s acknowledged as being gracious, He’s acknowledged as being kind, all in your saying, “Thank you.” That’s why His response to “Thank you,” causes more grace to come. It’s powerful. You want or need something from God, if you praise Him, you’re basically encouraging Him to give you more. That’s why people that are ungrateful and don’t believe God is gracious don’t receive so much, because they stay in please, which doesn’t produce grace. Please will maybe produce compassion, but not always. “Thank you” will always produce compassion because you are admitting that they are greater, that they are powerful, that they have an abundance, therefore you are admitting they can do something for you that you can’t do for yourself. Please is just begging and all begging does is announce the depravity of your condition.
Someone pointed out that the way grace empowers is similar to two mirrors facing each other and the image keeps replicating itself into infinity so grace empowers and increases the value of the whole thing. Remember, please is an expression of a need, shows that you are begging, and is an action of politeness. So we teach our kids to say please and give us an action of politeness. But please does not have the power of thank you which is the expression of graciousness, grace, and gratitude. You need to remember “thank you” in your prayer life. God is not looking for you to say, “Please God.” Because inherent in the relationship is that He’s already expressed that He is merciful. He is waiting for “thanks” because when you say, “Thanks,” you are saying, “God I acknowledge you did something for me that I could not do for myself. I acknowledge that without your help it may not have been done. I acknowledge that You are the Greater One. I am the lesser one. God is a gracious God. What does that mean? It means that God does for the lesser out of the abundance of His ability, and He empowers the lesser. What does He expect back? The only payment you can really give Him is “Thank you.” Please is not a payment. Please is the establishment of a quasi debt.
For example when I say, “Please may I use your pen.,” inherent in that “please” is the expression that she has something I want and I am trying to get it from her. She has a pen and I want her pen. “Please give me your pen.” Someone pointed out you might just be borrowing the pen, but Pastor Don indicated that still Janine had the pen and he wanted it. When he went to Janine and asked her to please give him her pen, a debt is transferred. She feels indebted because I said, “Please give it to me.” What am I saying? I am saying, “She’s got it, I want to possess it, please give it to me.”
Puzzled, someone asked, “So what is the option to command it?” Pastor Don said, yes we can do that but like this, “Thank you. May I have your pen?”
Another person mentioned that this goes against everything she grew up with. Pastor Don told her he is showing her how to grow in the Lord. If you want to get more from the Lord, then you go to the Lord who has everything and say, “Thank you for a pen. Thank you, I really appreciate it Lord Jesus, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” Why? Because God’s position is He already knows He has everything, which includes everything you are going to ask for from God. What does the Bible say? What did Jesus say? Your Heavenly Father knows before you ask. So what does He know before you ask? He knows that you need it. So what is the function of even asking for it? The function of asking for it is the expression of yourself as a needy one. And what is the response of you being needy? Gratitude — Thank you. Thank you, because faith says what? Does faith say He’s going to give it to you? Or does faith say He’s not going to give it to you. He says the reason you are not receiving when you ask is because you are begging in the hope of receiving it. You need to ask, with gratitude before it manifests.. Call those things which be not as though they were. So thank you. Paul says it this way, “In all things, with all prayer,” give thanks. See this Christian thing is different from politeness. You can be extremely polite but ungracious. God says it’s already yours, the minute you ask me for it He says He has already done it for you. That He’s going to give it to you because it’s His good pleasure to give things to you. All God asks is that we be gracious to Him. He asks us for gratitude, before we get it. So Paul says, in all things, in anything you ask for, with all prayer and all supplication, let your thanks be made known. So He’s actually saying, when you ask, thank God for it.
There’s another prayer that Jesus prayed, that is similar. Jesus says before you ask, give thanks to God. God is so kind, so merciful and so great, that if you go to Him, thanking Him for what you are asking for, He’s already going to provide it because He knows before you ask. So what is God measuring then? He is measuring your gratitude, not your politeness. He’s not even concerned about your politeness. He’s concerned about your gratitude. Why did they put Jesus on the cross? The first main reason they decided to crucify Christ was because Jesus called God, “Father.” They wanted Jesus to use all of the names and the same politeness they used toward God. And Jesus says, “I don’t have to, He’s my Father. “ And they say, “We’re going to kill you.” Why? Because, for anything that Jesus asked for from His Father, He said, “Thanks.” And Jesus said the only reason He is saying this is so they can hear Me, but I already thank You, Father that it’s already done.
Someone thought of the example of when Jesus raised Lazarus as an example of Him giving thanks before Lazarus was raised from the dead. Pastor Don pointed out that nowhere do you see any manifestation of Jesus begging God for anything. He doesn’t beg. He says, “Daddy, thank you for it. Daddy, thank you for it. Thank you. Daddy thank you for it.” See, we have to, as believers, go to God in an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude for His graciousness, acknowledging He is more powerful, and acknowledging that we appreciate it. When we say, “Thank you” we are making a faith statement. Even if your faith isn’t there yet, make the faith statement of saying “Thank you.” Thank you says, I believe I’ve received. I appreciate it now, even though I don’t see it, I believe I’ve received.
But begging is like that old James Brown song, “Please, please, please, please.” Begging elicits a totally different response. Have you ever had a little kid pulling on your pants going, “Please, please, please, please?” Makes you want to push him away. But little kids that are smart and know their Bible will go up to you and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you and you haven’t even put it on the offering plate. Trust me that kid’s going to get it. Because he said thank you before its even been manifested.
Pastor Don said he could prove it in the Bible. Mary goes up to Jesus at the wedding of Cana. She doesn’t go “please, please, please, please make some wine so the wedding’s a success.” She states the problem, “They’re out of wine.” Jesus’ response is, “So what, what’s that to me.” And then Mary goes to the servants, “Do whatever He says.” But what was she saying? She was saying, “I know He’s going to do it. I’m grateful for it. You guys, do what He says.” Meaning I’m already counting it done. I’m already counting it done.
Pastor Don then summarized about King David – who was one of the greatest kings and he was the only king that God said was after God’s own heart. 2 Samuel 9 covers the story of King David and a guy named Mephibosheth. In this situation David has risen to become the greater one, Mephibosheth is the lesser. Mephibosheth is in even more trouble than many others of those lesser than David because he is a descendant of King Saul’s son, Jonathan.
Anyone in position of KING doesn’t have to get caught in the dichotomy or the difficulty of balancing please against thank you because neither response is required on the king’s part. A king doesn’t have to say please for something, the king doesn’t even have to say thank you for something.
The tradition in the Bible is very clear about what happens to surviving relatives of a former king. For example, according to the tradition in the Bible, if Queen Ethel (Ethel is someone in our Bible study) dies and Cynthia is her successor, Cynthia then becomes the queen. Traditionally Cynthia will then kill all of Ethel’s relatives, wipe them all out. Why? Because they might make a claim to the kingdom. And if they are a descendant, a son, a daughter, a sister or related person, they pose a definite threat to the solidity of Cynthia’s kingdom. There is one other option, which is what David’s about to do. By David’s actions he can make someone so indebted to him they will pose no threat. The only way you can do that is through grace. In other words, if Cynthia shows so much grace to some of Ethel’s descendants, they will become so indebted because of that grace, that kindness, that mercy, that they would say, “I’m never going to overthrow Cynthia, she was kind to me when I was in a bad situation.”
King David knows he did not put himself on the throne, therefore he knows he owes a debt to God. Now, can he pay God back? Some people in our Bible study suggested he could thank God, be obedient, or be kind to Mephibosheth. These are all good answers, but not the one Pastor Don wanted. In the book of Ezekiel, God says, “I will be debtor to no man.” In the book of King Solomon, God says, any debt, or any help, or any assistance, or any graciousness, or any kindness you show to a weaker or a lesser vessel, that cannot pay you back, God says, “I will be the debtor.” So if you give something, or do something for someone who cannot pay you back, then God says, “I will pay you back.” That’s why charity works. That’s the reason we (our church) want to help India, Africa, next door neighbors, members of the church. The reason that you want to do good for someone is very simply this, because you want to put God in debt to you. It’s just because of bad teaching we have some stupid ideas that are not biblical. Altruism pays a benefit. You don’t do something for somebody and expect not to be paid back, if you think that through, that’s phoniness. The reality is, if I help Ethel, I expect Ethel to help me back. If Ethel can’t help me, I expect God to help me back, because Ethel can’t help me back. In other words, there is a selfish motive to all action in life. Someone suggested a thank you is a payback and Pastor Don agreed. So if you say thank you, you recognize that the person is higher than you, and therefore they were expressing kindness to you, they were demonstrating grace to you, and therefore, they got paid back.
It’s just that the devil wants us to believe these lies that we’ve worked up in our heads that we do good for no reason other than the fact that we did good. Dumb, unbiblical. We do good because it works, because it makes sense, and it has the highest rate of return. That’s why we do good. And if you don’t get that straight you will never be able to work the system. It’s a system, that’s the way God designed it. Jesus took the lowest seat in order to get what? The highest seat. Jesus became a servant to all, in order to what? That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord over all. Jesus died for all so he could be elevated above all. It’s just that the devil wants you to think that’s selfish. It’s only selfish if, when you become all, your motive is to destroy those that are the lesser. But if your motive is to bless all that are indebted to you, you’re being like God. God who is the greatest put His word above Himself, He humbled Himself to His own word, why, because the only way to the top is to take the lower seat. What did Jesus say? When you come into the banquet hall don’t go to the front, take the back seat, take the lowest seat. Why? So you’ll be called up to the front to take the highest seat. What did Jesus do? Jesus came into the world as a man, what seat did He take? He didn’t own anything, He didn’t have anything, He became a servant to all. Who did He die for? Everybody. Jesus died for the poor and the rich. Why? Because He wanted to be the greatest of all. But we have these stupid phoney ideas. Pastor Don stated he knows, if he helps people, benefits are coming back to him.
Someone asked about salvation and good works. Pastor Don replied that good works would get you a better seat in Heaven if they were done with the right heart, that it’s all about motive. Good works will get you position (and crowns) in heaven, but good works won’t buy you salvation. Salvation is bought by faith.
Pastor Don stated he has faith in the system that the more people he helps the better it is for him. So, that’s his motive, a good motive. The good motive is God’s going to bless me because I bless others. That works. That’s the law, the law of faith. Now if I do good works because I believe that, truly believe it, then the good works will be counted to me as righteousness. Someone asked Pastor Don about getting praises for good works. He replied, Yeah, I want praises, I’m not going to go to heaven and not lay something at the feet of Jesus. But I don’t want the praise of the world. That’s the difference. Whose praise do I want? Jesus’ praise. I don’t care about what the people in the planet say, I don’t care if they name a street after me in Albany. I don’t care about that. I don’t care if they put my face on a plaque in the Living Word Chapel. I’m not playing for that. I have no investment in that. I could go buy my own plaque. I’m playing for the plaque in heaven. I’m playing for Jesus Christ. I’m playing with a sincere heart to reach and help as many people as I can, teach people out of confusion, and phony politeness. I want people to get to heaven based on the real deal of the Word of God. And the Word of God says, if God has been gracious to me, I am obligated now to be gracious to someone else. And if I’ll do that, guess what, He will make me the greater one in the kingdom.
Pastor Don then went to discuss 2 Samuel 9, which I will share with you tomorrow.
Praying your day is blessed. Mine was, I got to attend my children’s band concert. They played beautifully.
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