Yesterday a woman came to our church for her first time and came up after the Sunday School lesson to thank me for it with a great compliment. My first reaction, other than “I guess she hasn’t heard much teaching of the Bible !”, was when was the last time I recognized someone else’s efforts and gave a word of genuine, encouraging thanks? When you read the New Testament, writers of Scripture were often doing this, like: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. . .” (1Thess.1:3) & Philemon 7, “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.” Or how about Paul’s “thank you note” for the love offering from the Philippians, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.” (4:14) !
You never know what disouragement some people may be going through, even those who seem to never be discouraged. And God can use YOU to minister to them in their time of need. We all appreciate it when someone recognizes our efforts and says so, it puts a little more “fuel in the tank” ! And while it’s true we shouldn’t be serving FOR the praise of men it is good for the one praising and, if handled right, for the one being praised too.
Now that lady I spoke of is new to our church. She hasn’t gotten used to me and how I teach. There is something to that, we do tend to grow accustomed to the blessings we enjoy and take them for granted. But what if they were gone all of a sudden? What if we no longer enjoyed the efforts of those who minister to us week in and week out? What we tend to do is get used to the blessings and not express thanks and then when our expectations aren’t met in some way we criticize. This is one reason I believe the apostles were so keen on taking the time to see the blessings and speak a word of gratitude for them. It helps check the “take for granted” monster lurking within and cultivate the spirit that does see the good things others do and ministers back ! When’s the last time you really expressed a thank you to someone in your church, your home, your workplace? They may just need it, but truth is YOU need it too – You need to be a thanking person !!