It began this way.
My friend, Superwoman, comes over every week to help out with household duties. And, every time she must go, she leaves almost like she is in a rush. She quickly gathers her belongings and kids, hurries out the door, and closes it before I feel like I can properly thank her. If I do get a thank-you in before the door shuts, she kindly smiles and gets out of there.
Now this isn't a one-time strange occurrence but a weekly happening. Well, I got to thinking... [whether or not I am reading into her actions is not really important here, but my realization may be.]
Why doesn't she want to receive the thanks?
While there could be insecurities or other emotional issues or a host of other reasons here, my first thought is The Bible. [Just because the Word seems to govern all of her actions; it really is amazing!]
I first thought of Matthew 6 when Jesus is speaking of how we should not be like the hypocrites who give to the needy, pray, or fast to be seen by others for they have received in full their reward for those deeds. Maybe she did not want to receive my acknowledgement of her actions because she was storing up heavenly rewards and did not want to risk forfeiting them for earthly praise.
Maybe she was simply obeying Scripture (specifically Gal. 6:10) and did not want to start helping me to receive my thanks and begin feeling good about herself (wanting just to remain an obedient servant with true humility). Being content with being used by God but not to know that God is using her lest that build an ego.
Likewise, maybe she was trying to keep an "unto the LORD" (Eph. 6:7, Col. 3:24) attitude, and not let her feelings (whether good or bad) get in the way of her service to the LORD by helping me. Not a "I like helping her because she gives me praise," but a "I'm going to help no matter what because the LORD commanded me so."
Lastly, after my initial thoughts about receiving thanks, I had an odd thought -- What exactly do the Scriptures have to say about giving thanks? I did a little investigating and was shocked by the results. Every verse I could find that mentioned giving thanks, being thankful, thanksgiving, only mentions thankfulness in context of thanking the LORD. Nowhere could I find any verse that encouraged us to thank one another or any person. Just to give thanks to the LORD (as the Psalms repeatedly mentions) but to no man.
Now, I am not trying to discourage good manners or being polite, but, well, I wonder why the LORD did not mention it in His Word. I can see how thanking someone else for doing something decreases your own self-centeredness but... I guess my thought is, does it increase my thankfulness to God? Yes! That should be my guiding thought. Looking back, I can think of instances where physically expressing my gratitude did buttress my thankfulness to God. However, sadly, I can also think of many times when I thanked someone for something and it actually supplanted my thankfulness to God. I would be thankful but gave my thanksgiving away to a person instead of God. Oh, it's true; it's sad :( Why not give thanks to both? I'm sure you could, but thankfulness to God is the command not thanking others. And, you don't want the latter to accidentally replace the first.
"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." ~ Ephesians 5:20