He has been president of different colleges and director of various non-profits. She is a renowned author who has won awards for her books and travels around the world in her philanthropic consultant work. She helped with the start-up of LifeNets, and he is currently on our board of directors.
In watching them work with donors and constituents, I noticed their very special care and attention to those who help them. They practice the philanthropic algorithm of never ceasing to thank donors and supporters. There is the point of never saying thank you enough time.
One way they do it is with constant statements of approval and respect via e-mail or a note. He told me when he was president of a college in Nebraska that he personally wrote many thank you notes to donors because he realized that it validated the donors, not to mention that it brought in more donations to the college.
As we try to learn more about Christian techniques for getting the work done, it’s interesting that the apostle Paul knew the importance of expressing gratitude and approval for the congregations he established. In his letters to those churches, he lavishly thanked God for their faith and gifts. He knew what effect those words would have on them.
In Romans 1:8-12 Romans 1:8-12 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come to you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;
12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
American King James Version×, Paul wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world…that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers…For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Can you imagine what a rush that would have given the Roman brethren, some of whom were slaves and had no pastor? Paul really knew what to say!
To the Corinthians he wrote similarly, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge…so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4-7 1 Corinthians 1:4-7 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
5 That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
7 So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×).
Once again, these were words that must have raised the Corinthians’ spirits as they heard them read.
And to the Ephesians, Paul’s pattern continues: “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16 Ephesians 1:15-16 15 Why I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love to all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
American King James Version×). Paul was very well aware of the effect of words fitly spoken. So should we be.
The phrases that we like hearing most are “I love you” and “thank you.” Both express approval and affirmation. We may not be able to express words of love as easily as those of gratitude. It’s a lot easier to say “thank you” and voice approval for specifics as Paul did. And the good it does is inestimable.
Do it today with those whom you interact with. They’re waiting. Your words may just be what a parched plant needs to revive. Some are good at expressing gratitude and praise and do it naturally. For most others, we need to be reminded to be aware of those around who could use a statement of approval, a compliment or a note of respect.
We can be thankful that God approves us as He has given us His Son to show that great compliment of worthiness. Let’s show that to those we interact with.