Just say thanks. This is one exercise in the Dale Carnegie Training seminar that has stuck with me for nearly two decades. Each person in the group took a turn to just sit there. Everyone else then gave them a compliment. After each one, all you had to do was say “thank you.” That’s it.
It’s harder than it sounds, and that’s why it was a full exercise. People need the practice.
What are we tempted to do when given a compliment? An honest compliment, or genuine praise, and not empty flattery.
We hem and haw. We say “no big deal.” Sometimes we start to argue with them, essentially saying they are wrong for thinking something good about us. We pretend to be humble, and try to shrug it off.
What a great way to make friends.
“Your hair looks great today.”
“Oh, I just can’t do anything with it. It’s so annoying.”
“Great job on that presentation. I think you really nailed the pitch.”
“Oh, no big deal. Just doing my job.”
This is an insidious form of pride that lifts up our own ego while projecting an air of false humility. Even worse, it robs the other party of something valuable.
Just shut up…and say thanks.
A similar phenomenon happens when people want to help, or give us gifts. Our pride gets in the way. Even if we really needed the help, we pretend we don’t. But even if we don’t need the help, refusing it steals something from the potential giver. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, and when we deny an opportunity for someone to be blessed in this way, to serve, to give…we are being selfish.
In Philippians 4:14-17, Paul is talking about the same thing. He thanks the Philippians for their gift, the only church offer help when he went into Macedonia. Paul did not seek it. He didn’t need it, as he had learned to be content and sufficient no matter what his circumstances. He gladly accepted it and rejoiced over it, and called said the Philippians entered into a partnership with him.
In verse 17:
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
Whatever fruit was harvested from Paul’s work, it accrued to the Philippians’ account, because of their generosity towards Paul. This is the main reason he accepted the gift, even though he did not actively seek it out.
Do not turn away the widow and her two mites. To do so would rob her of a blessing worth far more than those two mites.
The same principle is at work when we let our children “help” us in a task. We usually don’t need the help. We can crack the eggs and measure the flour out just fine by ourselves. The nails will be hammered in faster if we don’t let their small hands wield the tool.
But of course, that’s not the point. The point is that they are helping, and giving their time and effort. They get to share in the fruits of that labor, even if half of that fruit is splattered across the kitchen floor. Let their gift bless them, and do not deny them that blessing.
Just shut up…and say thank you.