Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. —1 Thessalonians 5:12
Showing gratitude must not be done only to God. We all need to remember to show appreciation to people. Paul said, "I am obligated to both Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome" (Rom. 1:14-15). He showed gratitude by what he did. His ultimate gratitude was, of course, to God, but he was not unaware of how God used people to bless him. Read Romans 16. It is largely written to thank people! Paul wanted to show how grateful he was by his actions. We are all obligated to people who have helped us. We may not always be able to show it to the very people, however much we would like to, but we can act upon what they have given us and do good to others.
I am very grateful to preachers and teachers in my past. My first pastor was Rev. Gene Phillips. He could not know how his life impacted me during the first few years of my life. I could go on and on naming people whose lives made me want to pray more. And yet I thank these men best by living a life that honors them.
It has been my practice to thank people, then, if I can, when they are still alive. People like compliments. I know I do. Do you? Tell people when they are a blessing to you. It may be the first time anyone has taken the time to speak a blessing to them. Your kind word of appreciation may come to them when they have had a bad day and lift them up!
Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).