by Pastor Tim Burt
There’s a paradox I think most of us have experienced in life, that I’ve been reminded of lately. The paradox is this: Acts of kindness from you toward others are often un or underappreciated. Why is that so? I don’t know but look at the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. The magnitude of severity that disease created in their life was beyond words. Suddenly Jesus heals them all yet only one comes back to thank Him. Who can explain that? Not me. But it happens in life and for that reason, I encourage you not to be one of the thankless nine!
If you’re thinking, We shouldn’t do things so that we are appreciated, I could not agree with you more. And yet, appreciation serves a wonderful purpose which is why Jesus spoke to the one leper who came to thank Him saying, Where there not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Jesus wasn’t looking to be thanked. He simply knew it wasn’t normal or healthy for those nine not to be thankful and full of appreciation.
By the grace of God, I’ve had a few special people touch my life with appreciation that I’ll never forget. I’ll tell you the story of one.
One afternoon, my doorbell rang. There at my door was a young man who had become special to me. He was on one of the serving teams of my monthly leadership breakfast of about 250 men. He had started a business and had asked if I would mentor him. I told him that my schedule did not allow me the time for personal mentoring but that if he stayed involved in a few areas of ministry with me, he would be able to see how I executed leadership and learn many things that would help him. As it turned out, I did manage to create a few opportunities to personally meet, talk, and help him from time to time. He wanted to be mentored in areas of biblical leadership, business, and integrity. He was always a deeply respectful, appreciative, and honoring type of person.
Over time, he became very successful in his business and became a great husband, father, and leader. As far as I was concerned, his business was one of the best around for what they did. I had hired his company on a few occasions for work I needed done and their work was always excellent.
So anyway, here he was at my door, yet I didn’t know why. He proceeded to tell me how much my influence on his life had helped him become who he was, and how appreciative he was of my help. He wanted to do something truly significant to show me his appreciation. I assured him that his words were gracious and kind, and greatly appreciated. I needed nothing more. He proceeded to give me a gift—a watch that was beautiful and had great value. I was astounded! As valuable as the watch was, it was the thought and his heart behind it that made it one of the most meaningful gifts of appreciation I’ve ever received. But to be honest, it cost him a significant amount of money. And to him, that was the point. He wanted his appreciation to be more than just words.
I’ve tried to help others throughout my Christian life. It’s who God has shaped me to be. I have never looked for or expected anything back. Now, without being offensive, let me say that men typically aren’t very good at showing or expressing appreciation—especially in any kind of meaningful way. This man and this act of appreciation and kindness was one of those few exceptions in my life.
So why am I telling you this today? I have written this to say that there are people around you who make consistent personal sacrifices to make your life better—to be a touch of God’s love in your life. Do you know who they are? Have you thought about them but not taken the time to let them know you appreciate their effort? You want to do so! Do you know why? Because an attitude of gratitude will enrich your life and shape you into a better person. Forget how that would happen. Just know that it’s true. Walk it out and experience it for yourself. When you become one who notices and appreciate the efforts of others, it increases the value of what they do for you. It also encourages them that the sacrificial effort they make is appreciated. It strengthens and energizes them to keep on being a blessing. If you don’t think this is true, go read how Jesus wasn’t honored or appreciated in his own hometown and consequently could do no mighty miracles. Appreciation is not just for others. It strengthens and shapes your own faith and character! So go for it! Thank and appreciate someone who’s blessing your life. Make it a core value in your life. Do this and your life will become even richer than it is now!
1 Thessalonians 5:12 (Message Bible) “And now, friends, we ask you to honor those who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, I’d love to know. Click here: FreshMannaFeedback@gmail.com