–September of 2001
Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”
He was sitting in his garage watching cars go by, nodding and daydreaming of yesteryears. My surprise visit startled him back to the present. We shared greetings and took a little time to catch up on family news. My 83 year old friend then walked me to his bedroom and showed me two of his most prized possessions. The first was his lifetime subscription card to the God’s Revivalist. The second was a plaque from his church thanking him for his many years of service. My friend beamed with joy. He felt appreciated. Somebody had taken the time to say thank you.
As I have advanced in years, my realization has grown of the importance of expressing verbally and in other tangible ways my appreciation for the contribution that men and women have made to life. My first valuable lesson came as a result of the H. E. Schmul Banquet. We invited hundreds of people to our campus to celebrate the life and legacy of this great man. I watched Brother Schmul bask in the accolades given him by one leader after another. Plaques were presented, letters were read and a proclamation from the Governor was presented. Brother Schmul was still radiating in the warmth of those accolades the next day! It was a beautiful moment!
Banquets to celebrate life should not be limited to the high profile saints with very visible ministries. There are thousands of faithful men and women in our denominations, local churches, mission organizations and Christian day schools who have given years of faithful, sacrificial service who deserve a word of thanks. Why not have a party and celebrate their life and labors? Let them know they are appreciated!
If you’re a son or a daughter with a parent that has reached an advanced age, have a celebration. Write a letter of gratitude and read it to them. Yes, you’ll cry and they will too, but do it anyway. They will treasure that letter more than a million dollars worth of gift cards. They will read it and re-read it many times over. It will be their sunshine on many a dark and cloudy day.
Church, have a “Pastor Appreciation Day”. Pastor, find those senior saints in your church and honor them. Have a “Grandpa Jones Day” or a “Bertha Smith Day” and let both young and old extol their virtues. No, they didn’t go to dark Africa, but they did stay true to the home church. They paid the bills, never missed prayer meeting, taught Sunday school and faithfully cleaned the church when the preaching was good and when the preaching was bad. Celebrate their faithfulness.
God despises any lack of gratitude. Eleven of the thirteen plagues that troubled the traveling children of Israel came upon them for their ungrateful grumbling. The reprobates of Romans 1 began the first chapter of their degeneration with these words, “neither were they thankful.” On the more positive side, God is planning an indescribable celebration and a rewards banquet for His children when this life is over. Why not get a head start and spread a little cheer now!
Don’t be stopped by the false humility that says, “I don’t want anyone making over me now; my reward is to come.” Don’t miss the opportunity all around you to make someone’s day. Don’t forget to say “thank you” in a meaningful way. The time will come all too soon when the opportunity will no longer be with you.