A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Marilyn Bennett
In my 18 years of interviewing pastors and lay people of small and large churches, not once did anyone indicate that appreciating people grew the church. Instead, they believed growth was due to programs, personnel, or worship style. Yet, one of the reasons church planters are successful is due to their appreciation of anyone and everyone who contributes.
At the other end of the spectrum is the church that has a tradition of having a Teacher Appreciation Sunday every year, but never a Janitor Appreciation Sunday, a Treasurer Appreciation Sunday, or an Usher Appreciation Sunday.
Sadly, when a simple ‘thank you’ becomes institutionalized rather than being a spontaneous gesture from the heart, the act can become meaningless. Is this what Jesus meant in his parable about the one leper in ten who came back to thank Jesus for healing him? Do we just not get it? Do we not realize how valuable a sincere and simple ‘thank you’ from the heart can be?
Why is appreciation important?
Appreciation means we have put our ego aside to honor another. This is why one of the Ten Commandments asks us to honor (i.e. be thankful, appreciative) of our father and mother. Appreciation is something we should learn early in life.
Appreciation means we hold another person worthy enough to give their contribution some thought. We elevate others higher than ourselves.
Appreciation means we recognize we are not the Lone Ranger. Even he had Tonto. From the beginning, God revealed that no one can do life alone. God went to great lengths to get Adam to realize that just being with animals was not a good thing. Was Adam appreciative of his wife? I don’t know. Perhaps she listened to the serpent because her husband stopped listening, I say tongue-in-cheek
Appreciation means we agree to be a community, a community that honors each other. The church that Christ created included everyone: Jew and Gentile. In America we have been taught to treasure the independent spirit, yet people came to America in groups and survived as groups!
Appreciation is a way to practice submission not only to God, but also for each other. As Paul encourages in Ephesians 5:21 that says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Paul appreciated those who worked diligently in his churches and thanked them by name (see Roman 16).
So, I encourage you to practice the art of a simple ‘thank you’ and see how quickly you not only bless others but are blessed yourself!
As (Jesus) 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.