“Kraig, what do you say?”
Growing up as a “PK”, aka “A Preacher’s Kid”, and the son of active church members, this is a question I heard quite often. After one of the church members would come up to us, give us a gift or a piece of candy, my mother would assert, “….what do you say?” The correct response was, “Thank You!” Growing up, I was a very quiet kid. Preaching at 15, followed by college, ministry, and pastoring pushed me out of my proverbial shell. But in those moments as a little child, after receiving the gift, I would hold my head down, stare at the ground, with no expression.
In leadership we understand that every member of our team has an innate desire to be valued, needed, recognized, applauded, included. Each team member should be valued in the leader’s eyes. Of course, this applies to any relationship or friendship, and in any other arena where teamwork and comradery are involved. Leaders should be the first to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of others. Most people serve and work better when they are affirmed, applauded, and told they are appreciated for their work, commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness.
It is not by accident that Genesis 1:27 affirms for us that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created in the image of God. The theological term we often use for this is imago Dei….that we are made in God’s image. This is not merely an anthropomorphic spotlight (hands, eyes, etc); but it is more an expression of our inherent, internal qualities and are intrinsically tied to who we are. These entail our tendencies (the good ones), our proclivities, are attributes, and the like – but without sin. We like intimacy, and we are prideful. We can become jealous, and despise enemies. Of course, these qualities and characteristics come from God – but He possesses these attributes without sin. Our sinful nature is what makes pride and jealousy and despising our enemies and our pursuit of intimacy so dangerous.
Here’s another one – God loves and craves affirmation. There are many examples in scripture of God seeking and desiring His people to bask in His presence, affirm His goodness, relish His power, massage His ego, and give Him the praise He so rightly deserves. As a matter of fact, when having a conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well, Jesus tells her in John 4:24 that God is “seeking worshippers….”.
How does this apply to you and I in this moment? I’m glad you asked!
I am sure you have so many things to complain about. Maybe there are some mistakes you’ve made in life recently that simply do not reflect the best version of ‘you.’ There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that there can often seem very little good in the rest of us. There are so many who have lost their lives during this pandemic (with numbers continuing to rise), people who are apprehensive about the new vaccines, and fears and anxieties are high because of financial challenge, relational instability, loss of friendships, and the like.
In the midst of it all….I contend there is something you have left. There is the gift of your praise and worship and gratitude to your Father! Whatever you are facing today, the more you lavish your affection upon Him, He will fill you with His presence and His power.
In your hurt….thank Him.
In the midst of your despair….worship Him.
After your errors…return to your place of worship, and bow before Him.
There are things and people and problems and situations in your life that will seek all of your attention and allegiance today. Consequently, the things that have your allegiance and your attention, will also have your affection. The Bible calls these ‘idols.’
I want to encourage and admonish you – whenever you are tempted to amplify non-essential, temporal things, shift your attention toward the God Who longs to hear you talk to Him (Jeremiah 33:3), long for Him (Psalm 42:1), and abide in Him (John 15).
What do you say? Tell Him “Thank You!”
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