December 17, 2021 — Don’t make them hold their breath

“How’s the pastor of your church doing?” Stan asked me one morning before Ricky brought our breakfast.

“Why?” I asked. “Is something wrong with him?”

“Not that I know of,” Stan replied. “I was just checking to see if you were one of the people in Thessalonica that the apostle Paul wrote to about their pastor.”

“Thessalonica?” I said. “I’ve never even been to that part of the world, so it wasn’t me he was writing to.”

“I beg to differ,” Stan replied. “Paul’s letters in the Bible are written to all of us, wherever we happen to be.”

“Okay,” I said, “I stand corrected. But what was Paul writing about concerning their pastor that has any impact on me?”

“Appreciation,” Stan replied. “The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica that they were to appreciate those who labor in the church and give instruction.”

“Those who labor and give instruction,” I repeated. “Wouldn’t that include more than just the pastor?”

“You’re right about that,” Stan said. “We are to show appreciation to everyone who works in the church whether they are on staff or not. All of those things that go on in the church to make it a church don’t just happen by themselves. They are done by people who are to be appreciated for and encouraged in what they do.”

“And,” he added, “since we’ve talked about this before, I wonder if you remember how you can tell if someone needs to be encouraged.”

“I do remember,” I replied. “Check to see if they are breathing. If they are, I know they need encouragement!.”

“You got it my friend,” Stan said. “And let’s not make them hold their breath waiting for our appreciation and encouragement!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.  1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13.

Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Romans 16:6

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for the creation of the church and for those you place in the church to lead, teach, and help in whatever way is needed. Thank you for their dedicated work.  I confess that too often I do not appreciate them as much as I should, and I do not let them know they are appreciated.  Please forgive me for overlooking their need to hear words of appreciation and encouragement. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do appreciate what they do and I do express my appreciation in accord with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of salvation and redemption so you are part of the church? If no, why? If you are a part of the church, do you appreciate what others do in the church and express your appreciation for what they do? If you sense there’s a need for changes in how you see what there is to be appreciated, as well as how you express appreciation for what is done, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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