I believe that Jesus had wonderful manners. After all, we learn in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is not rude. No one who has ever walked the earth loved more than Jesus did. The heart of manners is something He taught us: “Do to others what you want others to do to you.”
Saying thank you is one of the first manners that we teach our children. Isn’t it pleasant to be around people who say thank you? Isn’t it hard to be around people who don’t? To say thank you we have to get out of ourselves. Saying thank you shows that we value others. It shows that we have quit thinking about ourselves and our concerns long enough to notice what someone else has done and to tell them.
Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, used to sing: “There are many ways to say ‘I love you.'” There are many ways to say thank you, too.
The simple way
You just say those two words. How you say them makes a big difference though. The expression on your face, the volume, the tone, the demeanor, a touch on the arm — those matter, too. What you are doing when you say thank you matters, too. Had you rather someone stop beside you to say thank you, or to say it on the run? Well, it depends. If he is truly in a hurry and you are amazed he even thought of it with all the pressure he is under, the quick words feel great. However, if someone has time to take a moment, then that is more honoring in those circumstances.
The paragraph way
Sometimes two words are just not enough. Sometimes there just is no adequate way to express your gratitude. At those times, it is good to sit down and have a long conversation in which you express deep appreciation for a full range of ways another person has blessed you.
The writing way
I have read that when Jacqueline Kennedy served as First Lady, she was prompt in writing thank you notes. She entered the White House with a newborn baby and a toddler. She also had a baby boy who died while she served as First Lady. With all the pressures she had, I’m impressed that she took the time to honor others by written notes of thanks. Though there are many times that an email or text message is appropriate, there is something special about pen, paper, ink, and an individual’s own handwriting.
The in-front-of-other-people way
When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he thanked his co-workers Prisca and Aquila publicly in Romans 16:
Greet Prisca and Aquila,
my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
who for my life risked their own necks,
to whom not only do I give thanks,
but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
also greet the church that is in their house.
How encouraging it must have been for Prisca and Aquila to hear these words when Romans was read aloud to the Christians there.
The very best thank you comes from a heart overflowing with gratitude.
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted
and now being built up in Him
and established in your faith,
just as you were instructed,
and overflowing with gratitude.