Have you felt under-appreciated lately and had yourself a pity party? Have you had a discussion with yourself lately on why you aren’t be treated fairly or with the respect and appreciation you deserve? I think these kinds of thoughts try to creep into all our lives at one time or another. It’s seems to have almost a paralyzing effect that not only keeps people from moving forward, but causes them to replay their I’m Not Appreciated speech in their head over and over.
A long time ago, this couple told Renee and I a horribly sad story of financial devastation in their life. They said they didn’t have any money to pay their mortgage or bills and they didn’t have money for groceries and didn’t know how they were going to do to feed their children. At that time, Renee and I were a young couple with four very small children. Our own finances were so squeaky tight that we could hardly afford what we needed for groceries. But, we took one hundred dollars—almost our entire food budget for the month (at that time) and gave it to them. We’d gave sacrificially and trusted God by faith for our groceries that month. When we gave it to them, they hardly said thanks. We thought, Maybe that didn’t think it was that much or close to enough. We didn’t know. All we knew was that they just said Thanks and nothing more. Renee and I thought, How could they be so unappreciative? Don’t they get what this cost us? Don’t they appreciate that we put our our children’s needs at risk for theirs? It hurt to be so unappreciated for what we sacrificed for them.
The following week we ran into them and they shared that they took their children out to a restaurant to celebrate the gift of $100 we gave them and told us it was just enough money to pay for this celebration! And they thanked us for it! This hurt us even more! They didn’t appreciate what we had done. They didn’t use it wisely. We felt sad and used. Live and learn. God supernaturally met our needs that month which we were thankful for!
Fast forward 30 plus years and we would tell you we’ve learned a lot about people. We’ve learned that most people are focused on themselves and not others. I know that sound horrible, but its true. And because that’s true, most people fall in the range of poor to not great on the appreciation scale. After many years, you begin to recognize a handful of people that are wonderfully appreciative for everything, when most aren’t for much. Oh how you love those people in your life!
Jesus experienced unappreciative people! We read about it in Luke 17:11-19. “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As He entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.”
Understanding that people not being thankful or appreciative is a common reality, Renee and I prayed and asked God to help us not be that way. He did help us in two specific ways. First, He taught us to do things as unto the Lord and not unto people or for their appreciation. If people are appreciative, that is always sweet. If they are not, it doesn’t bother us because we don’t expect it and know how lousy most people are at it. Secondly, God taught us to become highly appreciative people! He taught us to pay attention and notice the good in people and, catch the good things they do. He taught us to vocalize it and encourage people through it. We’ve learned from walking this out that people appreciate appreciation more than they can say.
I couldn’t help but think this morning about the multitude of things Jesus had done for us in our life. In some instances, I was the one who came back to Him with great thanksgiving. At other times, I’m sure I hardly noticed or acknowledged His goodness and kindness in my life.
Over time, being learning to be thankful and appreciative has opened the eyes of my heart. I now see God touching my life every day in some way that I am thankful for and purpose to thank Him for it. and in general, I focus my heart on giving thanks rather than looking for it. It helps me keep my heart right toward God and man, and it builds the character quality of being a thankful person with me. Being an appreciator rocks! Self-pity… It’s the pits!
Proverbs 19:17 “He who is kind to one in need, joins himself in partnership with the LORD, and the Lord will reward him for what he has done.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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