Normally today’s blog would be written by my wife Carey Oswald but I (Carey’s husband Scott) am guest blogging for you today! I’d like to begin by stating that I’ve never been a cheerleader, nor plan to be, but I am familiar with the cheer highlighted in this blog’s title as its words are synonymous with youth and high school sports. But have you really thought about what the word appreciate means?
ap·pre·ci·ate – (verb)
To understand the worth or importance of (something or someone)
To admire and value (something or someone)
To be grateful for (something)
I am sure we all long to be appreciated and to feel admired and valued, even if we don’t express that need.
When I was a child in elementary school, I remember feeling ecstatic when I’d get a gold star on a spelling test. Although not a verbal expression, that sticker was enough for me to know that I was on the right track! It was a sign of encouragement and appreciation.
For those reading this that have kids, when was the last time you gave them a “gold star”, a pat on the back or a “well done”? Oftentimes we focus – myself included – on what our kids are not doing versus what they have done or accomplished. We nitpick them over things such as not cleaning their rooms or the fact that they spend too much time on electronics when we ourselves are guilty of doing the exact same things. We get upset over a strike out or a dropped catch when we might not do any better. We forget that our kids are just that – kids – and maybe we would serve them better by dropping down to their level rather than expecting them to rise to ours.
What about your marriage or relationship? Do you appreciate your spouse? Have you let them know that you appreciate what they do or who they are? I think back to the many times that I should have told my wife “Nice job”, “Thanks for running to the store”, “Awesome dinner”, “Let me pick up the kids for you” – the list goes on and on.
Have you felt appreciated at work? How often are you thanked for what you do (other than receiving a paycheck)? When was the last time you received a pay increase, bonus or promotion? Although my company holds a yearly employee appreciation lunch, sometimes what I really want to hear is two simple words “Great Job”.
Abraham Lincoln once said:
“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
Isn’t that a thought to ponder? I believe many people go about their daily lives giving their all, striving to be worthy of recognition. They burn the midnight oil, spending more hours on the job than some of us even think about, but they are barely recognized for what they do.
During the month of October, our church celebrates Staff Appreciation Month. It’s a moment to hit the pause button and to consider what those who have devoted their lives to the ministry of Christ really do.
For Pastors, it’s working 6 or 7 days a week, maybe 60 hours a week. It’s being a shepherd to a flock of sheep. It’s being the chief surgeon to a church that is a hospital for the sick. It’s counseling a couple with marriage struggles. It’s celebrating a new birth one day and praying with a grieving family at the loss of a child another day.
For those in Education Ministries including Children’s and Youth, it’s staying calm and not pulling your hair out with hundreds of kids at your feet. It’s cleaning up throw up and changing diapers and wiping bottoms. It’s telling stories about a garden and an apple and a big boat and a big fish and lions and a coat of many colors. It’s teaching songs about a man named Jesus and even if you’re afraid, He loves you. It’s about acting and skits and dramas – all focused around the Savior. It’s about relationships and connecting with each other. It’s about life groups. It’s about The Story.
For those in Support Ministries, it’s taking phone calls from people that may just need someone to talk to. It’s about balancing the checkbook and paying the gas bill. It’s about changing light bulbs and vacuuming the floors and washing windows. It’s about printing bulletins and publishing a newsletter.
For those in Music Ministries, it’s about leading worship, teaching songs, offering praise. It’s about leading choirs and raising up a new generation who will use their music and voices to serve the Lord.
Would you please join with me in offering a sincere thank you during this appreciation month to not only Beautiful Savior’s church and childcare staff but also to the thousands of church staffs across the country and globe. It’s about a ministry and not a job and it often goes without a thank you or any appreciation. So from the bottom of my heart – Thank You!
With heartfelt appreciation,