A message presented Sunday, August 23, 2020 at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, Akron OH:
I spent a few hours earlier this past week speaking to my team members. These are the people who report to me in the Collections group of the company I work for, and I was delivering their mid-year reviews for this year.
Because this was such an unusual year, I didn’t have to worry about going over any team goals for the year, because the only real goal for our team this year was survival. I joked with them individually about this as I spoke to them, and they readily agreed. It has still been tough for them even now. We’re all working from home, and it has now been five months. Not an easy situation for everyone. Some were able to adapt to the ongoing chaos of customer calls, and some admittedly struggled with it. Nothing to be ashamed of.
Now, my job, as a supervisor, is to work with all of the team members and assist them with any issues that arise. I did what I could to reassure each team member that they were doing very well under rather difficult circumstances. It was also important for me to help them cope with the reality that the old way of working—to always be in the office—may have disappeared forever. That remains to be seen, of course, but it needs to be taken into account as it will impact the employee’s overall outlook on life going forward.
All of the meetings were started and concluded with words of “thank you.” It was done with appreciation for the person and for the work that was being done. Saying “thank you” must be at the heart of every discussion like this, and even many other conversations. They readily acknowledge a person’s effort and, as it is done in all sincerity, the recipient appreciates the kindness and thoughtfulness of the person who shares it. By the reaction of some of the people I spoke to, I got the distinct impression that they have experienced periods of their life where they were seldom praised or even received a “thank you” for their efforts.
The only other place that I have lived outside of Northeast Ohio is Cincinnati. I moved there for a job back in 1983, and I encountered a totally different lifestyle there when I started to talk to people who lived and worked there. A lot of the people there said “please” if they wanted clarification of a statement, as well as for asking for something out of courtesy, and of course, “thank you.” Honestly, I was exposed to a touch of Southern charm while I was there, accents and all, and of all of the things I liked about the area, it was that people were very kind, gracious and courteous. I encountered the same behaviors when I traveled to Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky. My job transferred me back to Cleveland, Ohio after about a year, and there was a notable difference in demeanor here. Not nearly as many people were saying “thank you.”
When you are exposed to courtesy and pleasantries over a period of time, you grow more accustomed to these behaviors, and they actually have a positive effect on your overall mood and your demeanor. Of course, this includes people who say “please” and “thank you.” It’s worth our consideration for today’s message.
Now, I won’t go as far as saying that paying compliments to others and saying “thank you” is a lost art, but I will say that I have run across a number of people at different jobs I have held who were under previous managers or leadership. These people had to endure supervisors with poor listening skills and a lack of understanding as to how to talk to and relate to employees. People need to see and understand that this is something that can impact a person’s performance and, if it gets really out of hand or even intolerable, it can drive out good people.
How about life outside of work? What if you are retired? What if you are still very young and in school with classmates? How about your friendships or even family relationships? Do you think that saying “thank you” to others is important?
Of course it is. It is a character trait that is endorsed by God, and it starts with your own gratitude as to what Jesus Christ has done for you. If you are thankful for God and His goodness, you can be appreciative of the good deeds of others.
Let’s look at this passage that embodies our approach when we follow God as this new, regularly sanctified person in Jesus Christ:
Colossians 3:12-17 ESV
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Look at the characteristics that describe those who follow Jesus Christ. They mirror the Christ-like traits of the Holy Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, it should be, within our ministry, a resounding duty to say “thank you” to people in recognition for their goodness and their good works. Why is this important? Consider that while saying “thank you” is not just for the recipient, but it is also for the person who shares it. As a member of the body of Christ, the demonstrative words that we use before others can either build them up or tear them down. We are charged to be ministers of God; therefore, we are to act in such a way that our words are kind, compassionate, gracious and effective.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…
1 Corinthians 1:4
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus…
These passages are within the letters that Paul wrote to the Ephesian church and the Corinthian church. His love for the people of church reflected a mindset that he wanted the church to know about and to see as they learned more about Jesus Christ.
He expressed the same sentiment to the Thessalonian church, who proceeded to go out, share the love of Christ and did many good things within the church body and even beyond the church:
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, he continued to thank them for all of their work in spite of difficult circumstances.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
Paul wanted to thank each of these churches for their enduring love of Jesus Christ and for their perseverance over a number of obstacles, including false teaching along with persecution. It was his hope, in his reflection of Christ’s love, that they would prevail over the enemy.
Saying thanks is a powerful way to build up a person as they pursue truth and righteousness in Jesus Christ.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Saying thanks is a way to build up a person who makes mistakes but is sincere in effort to get better. You tell someone “thank you” to encourage a person who is trying to do the right thing.
We need to take the words “thank you” very seriously and make sure that we are showing gratitude for the accomplishments of others. I’m going to challenge you to think about the health and well-being of others as you share with them as to their value in the body of Christ. You will even be able to give someone effective correction, and if it is done in the right way, it will be graciously accepted.
A lot of us need to work on how we are to affirm others in the body and to not be double-minded. A “thank you” should never be directed at someone with sarcasm. It cheapens the word and reflects insincerity. We are never to say thanks to a person and rip them in private. Why? Because it is fleshly behavior.
Matthew 5:37 ESV
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
The body of Christ needs sincere believers sharing sincere words to spread the love of Christ to those who need to hear it, including skeptical people. Sincerity helps to overcome skepticism and brings enlightenment to people who are still learning to love and grow in Jesus Christ.
Why do we thank others? It is because Christ implores us to love one another.
John 13:34-35 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
As we are called to love others, in honor of our love and service for Jesus Christ, we are to extend thanks as necessary to recognize a person in service.
(Write these six points down…)
- Tell someone how important they are with valuable information.
- Honor the person by showing respect for who they are.
- Acknowledge that one’s accomplishments make the person stand out.
- Note when a person does something that is commendable.
- Kudos to a person are to praise them for their achievements.
- Support a person with words of encouragement.
(Look at the first letter of each of these points…THANKS!)
Just say “THANKS” for a job well done.
Always give thanks for Jesus Christ.
Your words are to reflect the love of Jesus Christ in appreciation for commendable work.
Numbers 6:24-26 ESV
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
As you share this love, it indeed will pay dividends in your own life.
Luke 6:38 ESV
“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
It begins with being thankful to Jesus Christ for all that He has done for you, and extending our thanks to others for all that they accomplish. May the body of Christ always live in this manner to make us stronger in our faith and in our service.
Tell someone today “thank you” for all that you do.
© 2020 Melvin Gaines