By Dennis Wiggs
The young preacher and his family are often recipients of gifts and kind comments which are usually expressions of love and appreciation. Learn to say, thank you early in your ministry.
Maybe you did spend just a few dollars for that pinstriped suit at the second-hand store. Perhaps a widow did give you her husband’s suits. That ten year old pair of shoes still shines. Or maybe you did purchase three shirts for the price of one.
Every kind comment does not demand an explanation. Don’t tell anyone what you did or didn’t pay for it. Just say, “Thank you.”
If people are kind enough to say how nice you look in that blue suit with matching tie, you be just as kind by smiling and responding with gratitude. If the one giving the compliment seems to expect an explanation, reply that the Lord has been so good to provide your needs. A simple thanks is sufficient.
Write Thank You Notes
Some church members enjoy expressing their appreciation through gifts. A cake, a bag of tomatoes, a $50 bill, a birthday gift, a book for your library, a Christmas present—all appreciated gifts. Each gift deserves a note of gratitude.
Purchase thank you notes by the box. Be sure to write a few words in the card, naming the gift. Express how much you appreciate the gift. Set a goal to mail the card within 24 hours. Express Appreciation for meals. The preacher is often blessed with meals provided in restaurants or homes during special church meetings such as revival services and missionary conferences.
Write a note of appreciation before going to bed that night. Mail the card the next day. If someone provides a dish of food, eat it all or empty the food into your own dish. Wash the container. Place a note in the bottom of the dish, thanking the person for the delicious food. Return the dish immediate?.
You could probably count your blessings all day. Living in an ungrateful age, the ambassador for Jesus Christ should personify a spirit of gratitude. As a young pastor, the Lord will use many different sources to meet your needs. Always display a grateful attitude. Most of God’s creatures seem to take His blessings for granted. The young preacher should be the opposite.
Practice thanksgiving. Write notes to church members. Commend them for their faithfulness. Assure those who hurt of your prayer support. Express sincere gratitude to someone every day. A good time to do this could be on their birthday.
Be a Grateful Husband
A preacher’s wife cooks the meals, cleans the house, comforts the children, answers the telephone, smiles when she doesn’t feel like smiling, attends all church services, and maybe even waits with you until the last person leaves the church. She deserves notes of thanksgiving with the words and actions of her preacher husband.
Too often the young preacher takes his wife for granted. He may congratulate, commend, praise, and exalt everyone else in the congregation and forget the one who means the most to him. Learn to practice thanksgiving first at home.
Count Your Blessings
All of us enjoy being around someone who is thankful and excited about God’s abundant blessings. The young preacher needs to learn early in his ministry how to practice thanksgiving in the pulpit, parsonage and public life.
It is contagious!
About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.
Adapted from Contact magazine, November 1997.