The month of October is pastor appreciation month in the Southern Baptist Convention and other denominations around America. The church I pastor, Vaiden Baptist Church, has done several things to show their appreciation to me as their pastor and to my family. This is not unusual for VBC. I have often said that every month is pastor appreciation month at VBC. I do want to say thank you, VBC, for being so good to my family and myself. I am not worthy.
This subject got me to thinking about appreciating others. Read what Peter says in I Peter 4:8-11, “8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” Peter teaches us that our words should show what is in our hearts and that should be an appreciation toward others.
I began running through my mind a few people who go through their days, every day without being shown much appreciation. I then thought of some ways of showing them gratitude. Here is my list. I hope this list will motivate you to form your own list and add to it until we can show all people appreciation.
People that know me much at all know that I really enjoy eating Popeye’s fried chicken. It is about my favorite place to eat. I began thinking about the cooks in the kitchen. I bet the only time they hear from a customer is when they make a mistake with an order. I began the practice of walking to the counter and asking someone to get the cooks’ attention. I then say something like, “You guys did a good job on my meal. I enjoyed it. Thank you very much.” It is amazing the smile that comes to their faces when they hear these comments. I am sure this blesses the cooks, however, I am also sure I receive the bigger blessing by thanking them. It makes my day and I hope theirs.
Let’s be honest, you would have to be very strange to enjoy telemarketers. We can block telemarketers from our homes but there is no law in the state of Mississippi to block them from calling a place of business, which is how a church office is classified. For this reason, we get many, many, many calls from salespeople each day. We answer the phone, “Vaiden Baptist Church.” I got under conviction a while back about how short I was with many of these telemarketers. Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit:” This even means telemarketers. To be honest there are times these guys are overbearing and difficult to show kindness. I have now begun trying to say thank you for taking the time to call me and being conscientious about your job and product but I am not interested in any purchases. They usually say thank you very much as we end our call. This is better than hanging up but maybe not as much fun.
Being a government official is a thankless job. If a person does the job well or gives a half-hearted effort there will be some people that just are not satisfied. From tax collector to governor of the state there is no official who has the ability to make everyone happy. In our me-first society if attention is given to one particular area of a town, county or state many people in other areas will cry favoritism or neglect and go on the offense. Can you imagine how many phone calls a day some government officials have to field? Here is the catch, most people have the attitude that is what we pay them for or they ran for office and that is their job. Those statements are true but does it give us as believers the right not to maintain an intense love for each other as Peter instructs us in verse 11 above? There are thousands of miles of roads through your county that might be perfect but the supervisor will hear a hundred times this week about the bad spots in a particular road. There are dozens of excellent teachers doing a great job in every school district but the school board member will receive many calls this week about the one teacher who no one appreciates. I wonder how your mayor, supervisor, town alderman would feel if you were to give them a call and say thanks for working hard to provide us all the wonderful things we have in our area.
One final example, I too feel like the managers of Walmart should be stripped and beaten with rods for having 25 check out lines open and only 2 being manned with personnel. When we turn the corner from the produce section and see the two lines backed down the store isles 15 deep it make us all want to walk away from our buggies, get in the car and leave. I have heard many a person after being in line for 30 minutes blast their cashier for there being no other registers open. It is not this worker’s fault. I am sure they would appreciate some help so their work experience would not be so frantic. I want to give you something to try. The next time you are in a particular long line reach and get a coke or a candy bar that is near the registers. When the clerk rings it up ask that item not be bagged and present it to the clerk after the transaction thanking the person for working so hard to get the customers checked out. The clerk will be overwhelmed and it probably will cool off the hothead behind you who is rehearsing their speech for the clerk.
I appreciate you, all of you.