"An angry man," said Confucius, "is always full of poison." This man was so full of poison that I honestly pitied him. He was about sixty years old. Now, life-insurance companies figure that, on the average, we will live slightly more than two-thirds of the difference between our present age and eighty. So this man-if he was lucky-probably had about fourteen or fifteen years to live. Yet he had already wasted almost one of his few remaining years by his bitterness and resentment over an event that was past and gone. I pitied him.
Instead of wallowing in resentment and self-pity, he might have asked himself why he didn't get any appreciation. Maybe he had underpaid and overworked his employees. Maybe they considered a Christmas bonus not a gift, but something they had earned. Maybe he was so critical and unapproachable that no one dared or cared to thank him. Maybe they felt he gave the bonus because most of the profits were going for taxes, anyway.
On the other hand, maybe the employees were selfish, mean, and ill-mannered. Maybe this. Maybe that. I don't know any more about it than you do. But I do know what Dr. Samuel Johnson said: "Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation. You do not find it among gross people."
Here is the point I am trying to make: this man made the human and distressing mistake of expecting gratitude. He just didn't know human nature.
If you saved a man's life, would you expect him to be grateful? You might-but Samuel Leibowitz, who was a famous criminal lawyer before he became a judge, saved seventy-eight men from going to the electric chair! How many of these men, do you suppose, stopped to thank Samuel Leibowitz, or ever took the trouble to send him a Christmas card? How many? Guess. ... That's right - none.
Christ healed ten lepers in one afternoon-but how many of those lepers even stopped to thank Him? Only one. Look it up in Saint Luke. When Christ turned around to His disciples and asked: "Where are the other nine?" they had all run away. Disappeared without thanks! Let me ask you a question: Why should you and I-or this business man in Texas-expect more thanks for our small favours than was given to Jesus Christ?