Yesterday, members of the congregation I that I serve as Pastor said, “thank you!” It was an observance of Pastor’s Appreciation Day. I have difficulty accepting affirmation. Since I am the privileged one who gets to do what he loves to do in life, I’m always more than a little embarrassed by an event organized in which people thank me for just doing what I love and what God has called me to do! After all, what could be more rewarding than having the trust of people who allow me to teach them God’s Word, week by week? I feel like I have a family numbering in the hundreds – complete with kids to love, fights to settle, sorrows to share, and significant milestones to celebrate. Most days I love being a Pastor. (Yes, there days when I complain, but don’t we all?)
Today, I want to keep TFTD simple. I want to encourage you to be an encourager.
Brighten somebody’s day with a word of genuine encouragement.
For that service person, a sincere, “Thank you,” along with a generous tip will do it. For someone who has gone the extra mile with you, a note of appreciation is in order. Keep it honest and, where possible, make it specific. As I read through the cards yesterday, there was one that I could not finish because of the tears of joy that blocked my vision. A father thanked me – in a specific way – for expressing affection to his kids, which he realized was meaningful to them and made them understand that they are people who matter in an often impersonal world. His specific word of thanks made me feel great!
The Word tells us to “speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, The Message) Look for creative ways to do that! In few weeks, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Why not turn the day into a whole month of ‘thanks-living?’ Purposefully seek out ways to cultivate gratitude. When you find a complaint forming in your mind, and you’re getting ready to be a critic, turn it into a compliment or an opportunity for affirmation!
“Ah, Jerry, life’s not always rosy. People fail, don’t do their job, are sometimes lazy, and take advantage of me.” You are right! We’re all sinners and we offend each other in a hundred ways – intentionally and thoughtlessly. There are most certainly times when we must correct wrong behavior, when we must speak honestly to another’s failure, but must we do that all the time? Is there so little to praise that we feel compelled to be miserable critics, growling our way through the day? I think not!
Truthfully, most of us will respond to affirmation, we will be drawn along to change by genuine praise, much more quickly and effectively than we are driven by criticism.
So, go spread joy today. Give up your need to be ‘right,’ or ‘comfortable,’ and encourage. What you give, you’ll get, so make it good!
Gather ’round me, everybody!
Gather ’round me while I’m preachin’ !
Feel a sermon comin’ on me –
The topic will be sin and that’s what I’m ag’in’
If you wanna hear my story,
then settle back and just sit tight,
While I start reviewin’ the attitude of doin’ right!
You’ve got to accentuate the positive!
Eliminate the negative!Latch
on to the affirmative,
don’t mess with Mister In-Between!
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum!
Bring gloom down to the minimum!
Have faith or pandemonium’s
liable to walk upon the scene.
– Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer