Stand up, introduce yourself. Don’t introduce the topic, yet.
Talk about your favourite gift you ever received for your birthday or Christmas. Talk about how pleased and excited you were, how it made you feel etc. Or talk about something amazing that happened – meeting your wife / husband, getting married, going on holiday, winning a prize etc.
A True Story
This was a trip to Lithuania with some young people from church. One of the girls on the team was sat on a bus, with a seat for 2 people. An older woman got on and needed help to sit down. The girl stood up and offered the lady her seat, helping her sit down. The woman barged the girl out of the way and sat across both of the seats, deliberately refusing to let the girl sit back down. So the girl had to stand up for the rest of the bus journey. This one act of kindness was thrown back in her face. But she didn’t get mad about it. She refused to be unkind even when someone had been unkind to her.
Get up 5-10 people. One by one, go along the line and give them each a present – it could be a piece of chocolate, or something else worth something that they want!
If people won’t volunteer, just wander along the front row and give out the chocolate to the 5-10 people that are nearest.
The key in this is to see how many of them say thanks to you. Don’t tell people this is the point, just give out the chocolate and make a mental note how many say thank you.
Story – from Luke 17 – either use the Bible version, or re-tell, then say it is from the Bible
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
There is a famous story about a holy man travelling across the desert. When he came to a town, he came across 10 men who had skin diseases. These men had been rejected by the people in the nearby town because of their disease. The holy man felt sorry for them and so he told them to go into the town to the religious leaders to see them. As they went to do this, their skin diseases were healed and they were completely cleansed. The men were so excited, they just jumped about all over the place and ran into the town to tell everyone. However, one of the men came back to the holy man. He came back and threw himself at the holy man’s feet because he was so thankful. The holy man said, ’10 people were healed of their skin disease. Where are the other nine, why haven’t they returned to say thank you.’ Then the holy man told the healed man to rise and go, saying your faith has made you well.
This is a story from the Bible. You can find it in Luke 17, where Jesus healed 10 men from a disease called leprosy.
Point – or something similar
Earlier on, I gave out 10 bars of chocolate. Thing is, only (x) amount of people said thank you. We also heard a story about a woman on a bus who wasn’t thankful.
As a Christian, I believe that being thankful will change how you feel and how others feel. Next time someone does something for you, say thanks. Imagine how you feel when you do something for someone and they throw it back in your face.
Next time you feel hard done by, be thankful about what you do have. And just be thankful anyway! It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to get angry or frown – and just think that means fewer lines on your face! And then think about two people in a room where one is thankful and grateful and the other is miserable and doesn’t say thanks. Which person will people prefer to be around? The thankful one. Be that kind of person!
As a Christian, I am thankful for what I have. And I am thankful to God for what he has done for me.
If more of us were more thankful, the world would truly be a happier place, for you and for me.