Dear Members and Friends,
I trust you are doing well and looking forward to our service this coming Lord's Day!
It is said that when Maureen Stapleton won the Academy Award, she rushed to the stage and gushed into the microphone, "I want to thank everyone I've ever known!"
That got a laugh, I'm sure, and everyone understood the sense of gratitude that threatened to overload her nervous system. It's a grand feeling, no doubt, although few among us have ever been in the position she was at that moment.
However, does anyone think that Ms. Stapleton's friends and family members, her co-stars and colleagues, her producers and directors, immediately felt appreciated and properly thanked by that statement? I don't think so.
No one took it as a personal word of appreciation.
Impersonal, general, generic one-size-fits-all thanks do not do the job. During this pandemic many stores are including a message on the sign-board in front of their business saying "Thanks for your patronage." As nice a gesture as that is, does it really communicate thanksgiving? There are ways to say "thanks" effectively and also ways to say "thanks" that waste your breath and energy.
Let me suggest some specific ways of saying thanks that make an impact.
1. Write a note. Handwritten is great. Two sentences are sufficient so long as they are personal and make it clear that the writer is not saying the same thing to everyone. For example, "Charlie, the sound system was so effective Thursday night, that no one gave a thought to it! You did your job beautifully, and we all thank you."
2. Give a gift. It doesn't have to be much, but it needs to be appropriate. Through the years Connie and I have received our share of gifts for something we may have done. Sometimes they were expensive, other times not. It was the thought that counted. Believe me, we've appreciated every gift received! What's more, we've sought to do the same. Not always perfectly, but we've tried.
3. Make a call. A phone call will often suffice. Even an e-mail in certain situations will be enough.
Having said all that, I realize I must be the biggest hypocrite on the planet. When I think about the vast numbers of people to whom I owe notes of appreciation, gifts of love, and calls to say thanks, I am overwhelmed at my negligence. So what should you do? How about do what you can and determine to do better!
During this Thanksgiving season why not join me in praying the following:
Dear Lord, Help me to be a more thankful and thoughtful person. Let all those whom I have failed to express my heartfelt love and thankfulness not to notice my failures. Please, bless them for their faithfulness, and reward them for their generosity.
Finally, why not start with the One to whom you owe the most. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good."
See you on Sunday either in person or "on line."
In the light of His glory and grace,