Appreciate One Another
I heard recently about a stay-at-home mom who went to a PTA
meeting while her husband and her daughter got together and decided they would
clean up the kitchen for her. They put
up all the food, wiped all the counters, washed all the pots and put them away,
put the dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. They swept and mopped the floors
and then sat down, and awaited her arrival.
Two hours later she returned from the meeting, took off her
coat, hung it up, walked through the kitchen into the den, grabbed the remote
control, and began watching television. They followed her over to her chair and
stood by her side. Finally she felt them looking over her shoulder and looked
up at them and said, “What?”
Her husband said, “The kitchen.”
“What about the kitchen?” she replied.
“The kitchen. We cleaned up the kitchen; it’s spotless.
Didn’t you notice?”
The woman replied, “Yes, I noticed. Thankless job, isn’t it?”
Unfortunately many of the good things we do go unnoticed and
unappreciated. It happens in our homes,
around the church and at work. My guess
is that there are many people around you who do important tasks but who go unnoticed and unappreciated.
While we would all admit that appreciation is something that
we all need; unfortunately it’s a lost art. In a world were we are taught at an
early age to take what you can get, we have forgotten what it means to be
appreciative, and the church is not exempt; God's people have forgotten the
power in the expression of appreciation to others.
When God created us He knew how much we would need to be
appreciated. He knew that this world would be filled with pitfalls and
discouragements. That it would be easier
to get down on our work, our churches, our communities, our families, and even
ourselves. Words are powerful. When you
are excited about the direction of your life one word can bring it all crashing
down around you. And when you are in the
pit of despair a word can lift you up. That’s why God had Paul write to the
Church in Ephesus what he did. Ephesians 4:29 "Speak what is helpful for building up others according to their
William James wrote that the deepest need of individuals is
being appreciated. People are hungry, they're starving for appreciation. As
Paul sat in a prison in Rome, there were many things he could no longer do.
But, he was determined to focus on things he could still accomplish and one of
those was saying, "thank you," to the people who had been kind to him.
Let’s turn and read exactly what Paul had to say in Philippians 1:1-11
You know it wasn’t just this letter to the church in
Philippi that Paul showed his appreciation.
In every letter to every church Paul spends some time strengthening the
church by showing them how thankful he is for them. It was important for his
relationship with them, important for their relationship with each other, and
important for their relationship with God.
I believe that there are times that even though we truly appreciate
others, we just don't know how to tell them.
So instead of strengthen relationships we don’t say anything at all. In
our text for today Paul helps us discover three attributes we can acknowledge
We can say Thank You for loyalty
Are there people in your life who have hung in there with
you through thick and thin? People who could have bailed out when times got
tough but didn't?
The church at Philippi had proven to be that kind of friend
to Paul. If you read on in the first chapter of this letter, Paul says that
there were some who were taking advantage of his imprisonment. Others were
saying negative things about him. Some, no doubt, likely forgot about him. Not
They never forgot him as the years went by and even sent a
gift to him while he was in prison.
Consequently, Paul writes the following words. "I thank my God every time I remember
you." Behind-the-scenes people deserve our appreciation. They may not
be spectacular, they may not be the superstars, they may not do anything really
out of the ordinary, but just the fact that they stick with you needs to be
In the western movie Tombstone the "good guys" are
fighting for their lives against a band of outlaws. One of the best scenes in
the movie comes after a gunfight at a creek when Val Kilmer, who is playing the
role of Doc Holliday, is asked by another cowboy why would he risk his life and
fight this battle along side Wyatt Earp. Holliday responds with a great line,
"'Cause Wyatt Earp's my friend."
The cowboy responds, "Well I've got a lot of
Holliday responds, "I don't."
In this world we have an awful lot of acquaintances and very
few that will stick closer than a brother.
True friends are hard to come by, but only a true friend would be
willing to share everything they’ve got. Those are true friends, and they are
Some of us have husbands or wives who have stuck with us
through bad times. It may have been financial disaster, a mid-life crisis, a
health problem, an affair, a terrible career decision. Some of us have been
blessed with someone who has shown wonderful support and we taken them for
If you've got a spouse, family member or friend who sticks
by you in tough times, show them appreciation, it will only make that bond
We can say Thank
You for tolerance
Tolerance is that gem we treasure in others but have a hard
time finding in ourselves. I wonder why we insist on perfection from others
when we cannot produce it ourselves.
I have a classmate from Faulkner who got out of Ministry and
is now working in the Funeral home business. Trista and I ran into them at
Wal-Mart a few years ago and I asked him how it was working out. Great he said, “For the first time in my life
when I straighten a person out, they stay straight!"
Some of us have wasted a lifetime trying to change our
spouse, children, parents, employer or friends. One of the first things I tell
engaged couples when we meet is I hope that you are happy with your future
spouse they way they are because you cannot change them.
But I think that’s one of the ways that God's shows His
sense of humor is by letting us fall in love with people who are our complete
opposites. Trista and I are a good example. We almost killed each other early
in our marriage attempting to "straighten the other one out." I
didn't need much change, but she was a mess.
We still forget sometimes. It took me a long time to
understand that I cannot change anyone other than myself. But it's so tempting
because she's so different. She's a saver. I'm a spender. She's a work first,
relax later person, I try to relax all the time. She sees the glass half empty.
I go, "What glass? Drink from the bottle!" We've had to learn that
the only way to survive is to be tolerant.
Paul wasn’t perfect and we see
from early in his ministry the struggle he had being tolerant of others. Early
on in his ministry, his great partnership with Barnabas was dissolved over a
difference of opinion regarding John Mark. When the two men began preparing for
the second missionary journey, Barnabas believed Mark deserved another chance.
Paul violently disagreed and Luke records that the difference of opinion was so
great the two men went their separate ways.
However, as the years passed, Paul seems to have learned the
value of tolerance toward others. In the last letter he wrote before his death,
the old missionary pleads with Timothy to send John Mark to visit him since, as
Paul says, "he is helpful to me in
my ministry." Paul learned to say thank you for others in spite of
their shortcomings and failures.
He wrote in Colossians 3:13-14 "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all of these
virtues put on love which binds them together in perfect unity. Let the peace
of God rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to
peace. And be thankful"
We can say Thank
You for others’ good efforts
In verse 4 of our text Paul writes, "I always pray with joy because of your
partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."
We say it’s not the gift but the thought that counts. But we don’t really believe that do we? We
want someone to think highly of us, so highly that they make sure everything
they do for us is perfect, but that rarely happens. After all we say if you want anything done
right you have to do it yourself. But is that the attitude that Paul shows to
the church in Philippi? We need to learn how to say thank you even if the
results don't turn out as well as one might have hoped.
When Paul wrote this letter, he didn't know if he would ever
be released from the prison in Rome. In fact, he acknowledged the reality that
he could be executed. So, while he still was alive and had the opportunity, he
decided to say thank you to those faithful and loyal brothers in Christ back in
Philippi. Look again at what he says and see what we learn from Paul's
expression of appreciation of the Philippians.
It was a sincere
expression of appreciation.
"I thank my God
every time I think of you." Verse 3
How many times have I been guilty of offering a flippant
thanks on my way out the door? Shouldn’t the appreciation be worth the gift?
Apparently Paul though so, he leaves no doubt of the depth of this love and
care for the recipients of this letter.
Real appreciation is genuine, it is never flattery. It is
sincere and heartfelt with no ulterior motive.
Second it was a
specific, tangible expression of appreciation.
"I thank God ...
because of your partnership." Verse 5
Paul wanted this congregation to understand why they were so
important to him. He said that he considered
them a partner in the important work to which God had called him. And it meant
so much to him that he was willing to take his time to write this in a letter
they could hold, and read and touch.
If you have ever dated someone you recognize this very
quickly in the relationship. The guy makes this huge discovery about the time
of the first holiday. I call it the card factor. When you give me a present and I have been
trained to read the card first. But that’s not how guys usually operate. We
think forget the card get to the good stuff. But to the more compassionate side
of the human race they know that the card is a written expression of how the
giver of the gift feels. So let me help some of the guys out here today CARDS
ARE VERY IMPORTIANT!
Paul’s letter was a recognizable means of expressing just
how much he loved them. The art of learning to say the right thing should be a
life goal. Solomon writes that "a
man finds joy in giving an apt reply - how good is a timely word!"
Finally it was a
recurring habit Paul had developed.
"I always pray
for all of you" Verse 4 I think that it’s very interesting to read about
some of the discipline Paul developed for surviving life in prison.
In chapter four he tells us if we want to do more than just
survive this life, if we want to thrive we must control our thought patterns.
For Paul, that meant developing a habit of saying "thank you", both
to God and to others who supported him. If you heart is thankful then there is
no room for bitterness, resentment or revenge.
I believe that God desires for all of us to be a more
thankful person. People blossom under affirmation. They wilt under criticism.
I challenge you this week to give a compliment to every
person in your family every day this week.
If you want to have a more powerful office, affirm your
If you want to have a more productive secretary, affirm your
If you want a more tolerable boss, compliment her or him.
Every time you appreciate the people around you, you raise
their value. Bosses who depreciate their staff are lowering their staff’s
value. It's the same with Christians. If we constantly criticize our church
family, that family gets uglier and uglier in our own eyes. It begins to become
what we've named it. Become a grateful person.
The bottom line is what do you need to appreciate from God?
When was the last time you spent 15 minutes just in gratitude to God? He's done
so much for you! He came to give us a purpose in life, power for life, and the
hope of heaven. He came to forgive our sin and to give our lives real meaning.
You're not here on earth by accident; God put you here for a
purpose. How do I express gratitude to God? By giving myself to him? He gave
Himself for me.
Questions For You To Consider?
In his introduction
to the Philippian Letter, Paul takes time to say thank you. Why would this be
important for him?
Is this a single
instance or a recurring habit with Paul?
If it is
reoccurring, where are some other places that Paul shows appreciation?
Why do we struggle
showing our appreciation to others?
Why do we struggle
accepting appreciation from others?
(Example: someone says that you look nice today and we respond, “This
For what do you
like to be appreciated?
How do you like
people to show you their appreciation?
How does Luke 6:31
apply in this instance?