“I have a dream …”
“Ask not what your country can do for you …”
“One small step for man …”
“For God so loved …”
Chances are, you can finish the above statements. Words have incredible power. We use them to inspire, create, move, love, hate, encourage, affirm, and a whole host of other things. Words create memories – both good and bad – and produce in us some of the deepest emotions the human soul can offer.
Words are important. As we build up to this Christmas, we will be learning how to give a gift that really matters to the people in our lives—the gift of words.
We believe that everyone should be able to give and receive the gift of words, especially during the holidays. We understand how difficult it can be to find the right words to say at the right time – or to get the courage to say anything at all, which is why we want to help you understand a few simple ways to change your holiday experience.
This past weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about the words “I appreciate you” and how important they can be to the people around us. He said that to appreciate someone, we have to “recognize their full worth.” We have to not only identify the value they hold in our lives, but we have to see the value they have, period. God gives them their value. We have to tell them. But in order for a person to believe our words, we have to show them they have value, too. We must back up our words with action. Never underestimate the value of genuine appreciation.
To illustrate, we looked at a passage out of the book of Luke in which Jesus heals (count them) 10 men with leprosy.
11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
This week, we will look at this passage and what happens when we show genuine appreciation to God and others, and even what happens inside of us when we learn to receive appreciation from others. Today, let’s look at how one out of the 10 men in the story responds correctly to Jesus healing him.
First, he recognized that Jesus had healed him. He identified what Jesus had done and was – most likely – thankful for it. Were the rest of the men thankful for what Jesus had done? Probably. Did they fully appreciate, or recognize the full worth of Jesus in this moment? The text does not indicate that they did.
If you had leprosy and were suddenly healed, wouldn’t you be appreciative? It’s what the Samaritan did next that illustrates what recognizing someone’s full worth looks like: he told Jesus. The Samaritan went straight back to Jesus and told him he appreciated him. He acknowledged publicly that he appreciated Jesus.
This is what it looks like to recognize someone’s true worth. We identify why we appreciate them, and we tell them. When we stop at “identify” and assume that people know we appreciate them, we miss out on opportunities to positively affect someone’s life and to encourage them in who they are.
Why do you think people struggle to identify and acknowledge their appreciation for others? Does it come easy for you?
Using the chart provided below (also in the message notes from the weekend), set a goal to show appreciation to God and to others, as well as receive that gift yourself this week. Your goal should be achievable, but try to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Identify what you appreciate and acknowledge it in a personal way. Record the date you accomplished each goal.
God, thank you. Thank you for healing me of my sin. Thank you for your Word and the way it inspires me. Help me today, God, to step out of my comfort zone and express appreciation to the people in my life. I ask all this in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
This post was written by Andy Rectenwald. Andy has a passion for bringing the Bible to life for people, for Christian Apologetics, and for the Cleveland Indians. He is married with two young children.
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