One of the deepest and most powerful principles of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Everybody wants to feel wanted. Even pastors have the deep down desire to know that people appreciate their ministry.

I have been in full time ministry since I graduated from Baptist Bible College in 1982. Being a pastor is one of the most challenging positions I have ever had. Though I enjoy it immensely and know I am called by God to do it, it can be extremely difficult.

The pastor is placed in his position by God Himself. He carries burdens that most people know nothing about. Yet, pastors have many of the same struggles everybody has at work, at home, in relationships, financially and so on. Pastors often hear far more criticism than encouragement. 

The Corinthian church did not really appreciate the Apostle Paul and the work he had done among them. Paul started the church and led many of the members to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. But instead of showing gratitude for Paul, they criticized him and began to boast of new leaders who had recently entered the church. But these new guys had done nothing for them. Without Paul, they wouldn’t even have a church. So Paul reminded them of his ministry. Every Christian should show appreciation for the people who have ministered in their life in the same two ways

Show appreciation to the person who led you to Christ.

Paul was a fellow worker with the Corinthians and with God. It takes divine teamwork to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul led many of the Corinthians to Christ. Now it was their turn to spread the Gospel in their community. If worldwide evangelism is to take place, everyone must take part. We can’t wait for later. Paul encourages that it must be done now. Today is the day of salvation!

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Paul commands them to “receive not the grace of God in vain.” How can anyone receive God’s grace in vain? This may be an appeal to unbelievers not to ignore God’s grace. There were some in who had not yet trusted Jesus as Savior. So, Paul was encouraging them not to put it off.

This may also be a challenge to casual Christians to put their faith to work. Paul is urging the Corinthians to take God’s grace seriously and live up to the Gospel’s demands. Some people get saved and never amount to much for God. One of the greatest obstacles to the progress of the Gospel is the bad example of people who profess to be Christians. Put faith to work.

Paul was concerned about souls. Some he had led to Christ. The rest were a burden on his heart and a prayer on his tongue. At the very least, the Corinthians should have shown appreciation to Paul for bringing them the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who told you about Jesus? Who led you to Jesus Christ? How long has it been since you just said “Thank You”? I hope this post will cause you to stop and find that person and say thanks. If it’s impossible to thank them personally, I hope you will take time and share your appreciation with one of their family or acquaintances.

Show appreciation to the people who labored to help you grow in your Christian life.

“For better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” At a wedding, a couple exchanges their vows. These vows list a variety of situations in which they promise to love the other. Paul did something similar for the Corinthians. He listed the situations he had gone through in his ministry for the Gospel. In every way imaginable Paul had diligently served God.

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:4-10)

Too many Christians are prone to take for granted the sacrificial ministry of pastors, missionaries, and faithful church leaders. We have teachers who spend hours studying a weekly lesson so they can share God’s Word with a class of students. We have servants in our toddler and nursery rooms who miss church and fellowship so they can minister to our youngest attenders. We have officers and leaders who spend time in meetings, research, prayer trying to organize our ministry to be most effective for the Gospel. Our talented musical volunteers spend time in corporate and private practice trying to be the best they can be to help us sense the presence of God every Sunday. I can’t mention all the people who are behind the scenes that you never see – people who fold bulletins, mow the grass, clean the classrooms, etc. Take some time simply to thank these people who have served. And especially thank those who have had a big impact in your Christian growth. Many of made great personal sacrifices for you. They do it because they love the Lord and you!

Recently I was able to connect with my youth pastors from high school: Larry Lilly and Lee Singley. They were very instrumental in my decisions to follow the call of God in my life. I still think of them often. So I simply wanted them to know how much they mean to me. It made their day. Go make someone’s day!

Tell someone ‘Thank You.’ Do it Today!