The Value of Appreciation

      We are going to emphasize one word that will increase the value of our relationships that word is appreciation. Why should we truly appreciate other people and express that appreciation to them? The answer is that it raises their value. That's what appreciation means. In the last several days I talked with a man who bought a house and five acres in 1979. He paid $29,900. for it and recently advertised it for $149,900. And he was getting all kinds of calls from people who wanted to buy it. His house had appreciated in value over time. The same thing ought to happen in our relationships. As we truly grow in our appreciation of others and express that appreciation, they grow in value and the value of our relationship grows.

     We ought to constantly be thinking of ways to express our appreciation to our wife/husband…parents…children…friends…co-workers and fellow believers. As we do we raise their value. The Bible teaches we are supposed to do that: "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 1st Thessalonians 5:11.

     "Let no corrupt (rotten) word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification (building up), that it may impart grace (increase the value) to the who hearers." Ephesians 4:29

     What is the deepest human need According to William James, one of history's most respected psychologists, their deepest need is to be appreciated. People have many deep needs, but whether you totally agree with William James, you will have to admit that one of the deepest needs all of us have is to be appreciated.

What Should We Appreciate

     We are going to look at three areas where the apostle Paul expressed his appreciation. Each of these areas is exceedingly important and yet they are areas we often overlook.

We Should Appreciate  Loyalty

     We should appreciate people who have stuck with us through thick and thin, good times and bad. They could have walked out, but they hung in there. This is what the Christians at Philippi had done with Paul over the years. When he was at Philippi he was arrested, publicly beaten and thrown into maximum security. The Philippian Christians stayed loyal. Paul went to Thessalonica and was run out of town. The Christians at Philippi stayed loyal. Paul was mobbed in Jerusalem; kept in prison for two years at Caesarea-Philippi and was now a prisoner in Rome. The Philippian Christians remained loyal. They sent words of loving encouragement to Paul over the years, and also regularly sent financial and material support. And so Paul writes: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine  making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now...Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.  For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:3-5, 7, 8.

     These people were Paul's Booster Club. And now, as he nears the end of his life in prison they're still rooting for him and cheering him on saying, "Hang in there Paul." …And Paul expressed his heartfelt appreciation.

     Likewise, we ought to deeply appreciate those who have been loyal to us down through the years and express that appreciation. It may be a marriage partner who has stuck with you through some tough times…a bankruptcy…a health problem…a mid-life crisis or maybe just being a jerk. When others were walking out they hung in there. We need to appreciate people's loyalty.

We Should Appreciate Differences

Paul wrote the Christians at Colosse, "Bearing with one other and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."  Colossians 3:13.

     It is an evidence of God's unique humor that He created us humans to be attracted to those who have an opposite personality to us. The odds are very high that among the married couples present one of you is by nature an early riser and the other doesn't even believe in God before 11 a.m. One is impulsive and does things on the spur of the moment and the other is cautious and reserved; one loves to talk…and talk, and the other is a person of few words. One loves to spend money and the mate is a penny pincher; one is a romantic and the other always has more important things to do.

     The personality differences aren't all bad if there are enough like interests that you enjoy together. I personally enjoy my wife's effervescence and spontaneity. If she had a personality like mine it would be a most boring marriage. In turn, she appreciates the stability and strength I contribute to the relationship.

     These personality differences plus individual preferences will be found in all relationships. They are not necessarily bad. They are more often just different. The problem is that we often let these differences irritate us to the point that we have very negative reactions that tear down the relationship instead of building it up. The scriptures encourage us to appreciate the good things these differences bring and be forgiving of the irritations. One of the good effects is that these differences add balance to a relationship and keep all of us from going off on wild tangents.

     Here's another reason for appreciating one another's differences. Social scientists have discovered that to keep a relationship wholesome there has to be five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. When we have differences we need to maintain that ratio or our relationship is deteriorating. If we have a higher ratio of positive interactions we are increasing the value of the relationship. Let me encourage you to resolve today to begin appreciating the differences in people around you.

We Should Appreciate Effort

   To the Christians at Thessalonica Paul wrote, "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…" 1st Thessalonians 1:2, 3.

     Notice that Paul was expressing appreciation for their work and labor. He did not mention any of the results that their work and labor accomplished. We, too, should express sincere appreciation for people's efforts regardless of the result.

     I have marveled at the ability of some mothers to do this. They have accepted the offer of their pre-school children to be mother’s little helpers. They get wood polish on the windows and Windex on the wood; they vacuum the drapes and the doilies instead of the floor; they break dishes, and I can’t bear to mention what they can do with paint and a brush. But, mom hugs them and praises them for trying to help out. I don’t know what the kids learn about working around the home, but these moms are building a great relationship.

     On the other hand some of us don’t do too good. Remind me to tell you when my boys were young and I was trying to teach them to mow grass with a riding tractor.

     Too often we think people’s efforts should produce results that are perfect before we express appreciation. None of us turn out perfect results when we first start to do anything, but when sincere appreciation is expressed for our efforts we work hard until the results get better.

How Should We Show Appreciation
It Needs To Be Real

     Paul wrote, "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart…" 1st Timothy 1:5. When we express appreciation we should strive to be genuine. We should avoid being hypocritical or trying to flatter or have an ulterior motive. One person said that a lot of people who patted him on the back wanted him to cough up something. Our appreciation needs to be real.

Appreciation Needs To Be Understandable

     We need to be clear and specific in expressing our appreciation. "A man has joy by the answer of his mouth And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! "   Proverbs 15:23.

     America is rampant with men who have the attitude, "I don’t need to tell my wife I love her. She knows I do." No, she needs you to tell her clearly and enforce it with hugs and kisses. You say, "I’m not the affectionate type." Then take it from me, Change! I grew up in Texas where real macho men were the strong, silent type. I didn’t know how to express my affections. I learned how from my wife and it’s been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned.

     Most of us need to work on expressing our appreciation clearly. Pastor Rick Warren tells how much he appreciates the kind words of his people after the Sunday morning service. After being mentally and emotionally drained it gives him a real boost. On one Sunday he preached an especially enthusiastic message and a young fellow said, "Pastor Rick, you were really full of it today!" He spent the rest of the day wondering what this kid thought he was full of.

It Needs to Be Often

     "We are bound to thank God always for you brethren, as it is fitting…" 2nd Thessalonians 1:3a. You may have heard people say, "Give me flowers while I’m alive and can still smell them." When we give thanks for people it will motivate us to express our appreciation to them. This not only does great things for them. It also does great things for us. Social scientists have discovered that people with the attitude of gratitude are the most emotionally healthy people. They are happier and live longer. The more often we express appreciation the more we increase the value of our relationships.

     I ask you to spend time thinking about people you can tell this week how you appreciate them…family, friends, co-workers, fellow-believers. I also ask you to think about the things you can tell your God what you appreciate about Him. If you are not saved, I encourage you to accept the gift of salvation God has been extending to you every day.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted



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