I guess my kids aren’t the only ones who haven’t quite grasped the art of appreciation just yet. I’ll never forget what happened on one of Carley’s birthdays when she was in elementary school. To save money, I decided to bake cupcakes for her class, instead of buying them at the store. Gasp! Betty Crocker, I am not. And, as a busy mom, just finding time on a hectic Monday night to make the cupcakes was a challenge.
As I was preparing the cupcakes, Carley asked, “Did you get sprinkles?” I answered, “No…you didn’t tell me you wanted sprinkles.” “Awww…I really like sprinkles,” she responded with great disappointment.
It was too late for me to go to the store, and honestly, I was a little irritated that, instead of being thankful for the cupcakes, she was griping about the lack of sprinkles. Then, the next day when I brought a Happy Meal and the now-sprinkled cupcakes to her at school (my sweet co-worker, Darren, supplied me with sprinkles before I made my delivery) she griped at me for being 10 minutes late.
Needless to say, I left her school feeling pretty unappreciated. Before long, though, I realized that I treat my own heavenly Father the same way. When I gripe about my house being not exactly how I’d like it, my kids being too difficult to deal with, my job too hard or my wallet too empty, I’m saying to God that I don’t appreciate His blessings. I’m choosing to focus on what God hasn’t given me and not the many things that He has. I’m so glad His grace is enough for my lack of gratitude!
If you recognize a lack of gratitude in your life, then let’s commit today to turn our attention to what we have and not what we lack. And, let’s remember to regularly express our appreciation for the wealth of blessings that God has showered on each of us.
Arms Held High
There is a story in the Old Testament that offers a beautiful picture of what it looks like to support our ministry leaders. In this story, we find the Israelites at war and their leader, Moses, on a mountaintop praying for victory. Moses prays with his arms reaching upward toward heaven until he gets too tired to hold up his arms any longer. But, he notices that when he lowers his arms, the Israelites start losing the battle. His brother, Aaron, and close friend, Hur, see that he is struggling, so they come alongside him and help him hold up his arms. They did this for hours until the Israelites arose victorious.
Like Moses with his trembling and sore arms, there’s a good chance that your pastor grows weary at times. We need to be like Aaron and Hur, first becoming aware of the struggle and then coming alongside our church leaders with support and encouragement. There are so many meaningful ways to do this. A handwritten note, a gift card or even an offer to babysit so he and his wife can have a date night would all be so very appreciated.
Most importantly, remember to regularly and fervently pray for your pastor and ministry leaders. By taking an active role in caring for our pastors, we are helping them have the strength they need to keep their arms and spirits lifted high.
This “Minute for Your Minister” is brought to you by Energize Ministries—providing encouragement, refreshment and recreation for your pastors and ministry leaders. For more ideas about encouraging your pastor, visit energizeministries.com. You can also find out about ongoing contests and opportunities on the Energize Facebook page: facebook.com/energizeministries.