Jump Start # 2457
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
His name was Trevor. When I knew him he was a teenager. He did something that I have never seen done before. And, he didn’t do it just once, but often. During worship, he would help pass communion and then then the collection plate. Many of us began our service to God this way. You stand in the aisle, and hand the trays to the person sitting on the end. As the trays come down another end, you take them and pass them on to the next row. It’s not hard, but it is something that is important.
Trevor always added something to this when it was his turn to pass the trays. Like everyone else, he stood in silence as folks remembered their Lord. But when it came to the collection plate, as I handed it to him, he would very quietly whisper, “thank you.” He did that every time. I don’t know if he only did that to me or to everyone. I was never sure if he was thanking me for putting in a check or for just handing him the tray. I always took it that he was thanking me for supporting the work and the kingdom.
In more than four decades of being a Christian, no one, other than Trevor, has ever said “Thank you,” when I handed the collection plate to the server. I must admit, when I helped serve, I never said “Thank you,” to anyone. I just did my job in silence. That’s how most of the guys do it. Just silently serve. But that added, “Thank you,” not loud, not drawing attention, just between me and him, was such a special and pleasant surprise. Now, more than a decade later, I still remember that. I thought of Trevor Sunday. I lost track of him and not sure where he is, but in my heart and in my memory is him saying “thank you,” as I handed the collection plate to him.
Now, from this a couple of thoughts.
First, I wonder if God also feels thankful to us. Heaven doesn’t shout it. But there we are on a Sunday. Our hearts are around the dying Savior and His generous salvation that was extended to even us. We sing praises to the God we love. We open His word and drink deeply into the message. We give because we love. We give because we want these things to continue. We give because it’s the right thing to do. Yes, it’s expected. Yes, we are commanded. But still, I wonder if God is thankful that we are doing these things. I want to think so. I want to think that He is pleased with worship. We could be in bed. We could be doing a thousand other things. Even in the church building, our minds and hearts could be filled with worry, stress and all the activities that we need to get done. But there we are, empty of self and full of the Lord and enjoying every moment. I like to think that God whispers, “Thank you.”
Second, obedience is expected, but it’s still nice to have someone recognize it and even compliment it. The worthy servant is only doing what he is supposed to do, we understand that, but it’s sure nice to have someone appreciate the good song leading, the powerful prayer, the passionate sermon, the folks that came, the people that gave. Response is important part of connecting and communicating. We have company over often. When they leave, my wife almost always will ask me about the food. Did I like it? That is important to her. I do the same with my sermons. There are occasions when no one says anything. Was it helpful? Did it stink? Was it any good? Feedback is important.
Thinking about Trevor made me realize that I need to thank the shepherds more than I do. Yes, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. We’d complain and fuss if they weren’t. But when they are, too often, we just take it for granted. I need to thank people for coming to Bible classes. Yes, they should do that, but still, letting them know that I appreciate that is valuable. What about the weekly bulletin? If it’s not there, we wonder why. But when it’s there, week after week, do we just take it for granted? What about all the other things that goes on in the congregation, or even in our homes? We have super team of men who run the videos, sound and recording. I have no idea what they do. But because of them, hundreds and hundreds of people listen to our lessons every week. Have I thanked them? And, what about home? Bills paid on time. Yard looks nice. Clothes washed. House is cleaned. Just the things a mom and dad does, but a “thank you,” sure puts a little pep and appreciation in what is being done.
I remember the Sundays when Trevor was going to be helping out with the Lord’s Supper and collection. I always hoped that he would be serving on my side. I wondered each time if he would say it, and he always did. “Thank you,” he’d say. And, I’d just smile.
Our passage says to give thanks in everything…everything. It’s hard to be thankful for tough times, trials or even what we are expected to do and supposed to do. But a teenager many years ago understood this. A simple “Thank you,” sure blessed my heart and I have never forgotten that.
What you do today, may well be remembered years from now by someone else. You may do something so little that you think nothing of it, but for another person, he may never forget it.
Thank you…how simple, yet, how powerful.