A few weeks ago my wife received a card from somebody we don't even know. The person thanked her for an offertory that she had played, "In The Presence of Jehovah". He said how much it had ministered to a need that he had. She also received a note from a church member thanking her for playing hymns. Wow, a thank you for having done something in church! Very unusual! She has played in church for over 50 years and seldom has anyone ever said "thank you". Saying thanks to anyone seems to be a rare occurrence. How many times do you let another car go in front of you and the driver doesn't even wave to acknowledge his appreciation? How many times do you do a favor for somebody and they just act like that is expected of you? Fortunately, some parents make it their job to try to train their kids to say thanks or write thank you notes for gifts. For years as a teacher I would spend hours of my time writing college references for students who asked me to do so, but over the years probably only a half dozen or so ever thanked me. I guess it just isn't natural for humans to say thank you and apparently people need to be trained to do this. But this problem isn't new to today's generation. I have always been fascinated by the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers and only one returned to thank Him. That has always been hard for me to believe - only one thanked Jesus the healer. Maybe that is why the scripture so often reminds us and tells us to be thankful. My wife and I have often given gifts to folks who have quietly served in our church. This past Christmas we gave out ten small gifts with a note of appreciation to people who have worked behind the scenes. Two wrote notes to thank us. A few others sort of mumbled a thanks because they were in a situation where another thanked us and they were sort of forced to respond as well. And a few others never acknowledged even receiving our gift. It is always sad to me that some of the most thanklessness happens in our churches. I think Christians should be the most thankful of all people. Of course we should serve to please the Lord and not man and so we should not expect or want the thanks of man. But let's be real. We are human and it is encouraging when others appreciate your service. Our church makes an effort to do that for our church staff with special programs and gifts during Pastor Appreciation Month in October and with Christmas bonus offerings. When I headed up Awana we held a big annual banquet to thank our leaders and to reward them for their service. And I would often write notes of thanks and encouragement to them and maybe that is partially why we annually retained so many faithful volunteers. And they also responded by honoring us and giving us gifts. And while that was appreciated, it did become sort of embarrassing because others did not get the same thanks. But I'm not sure that much more than these things are ever done for those who quietly and faithfully serve. Maybe that is part of the reason why folks burn out or quit after a few years of service. And let's be careful that we don't misjudge them for not being spiritual enough to work without thanks. We can easily say that their reward will be in heaven and it will be. But they are human, too. Dianne's note was very, very unusual despite the fact that for 50 years she has spent hours and hours in preparation to lead folks in worship. I have quietly served in a vital church position, for eleven years, that requires many hours each week and only twice that I can recall has anybody ever thanked me or told me that I do a good job. Of course, maybe I don't and maybe they are actually hoping that I will quit. But how would I know that? Now we don't serve for that thanks and we are really fine without it. I state these two examples just to illustrate what I think is too common in church circles - thanklessness for those who faithfully serve without pay So maybe we all need to be reminded of the need to be more thankful .... in our homes ... in our community ... in our church ... and even more importantly, in our fellowship with the Lord. In everything give thanks!
4 days ago