After receiving a gift or nice gesture, my mom would spout out “Now, what do you say?”
The answer was always ‘Thank you.’
I find myself saying this to my boys now.☺️
My mom cultivated in me a spirit of gratitude. She’s from the old school and made me write thank you notes for everything to everyone. This practice is one I still try to do although it does take time and slows me down - neither of which is a bad thing.
"Oh Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:12
As a leader, our thanks matter. When we lift up someone or something with gratitude we shine a light of importance and meaning. We help people know who and/or what matters.
Simply expressing gratitude is a moment when a leader smiles. Now this might not sound like a big deal however anecdotally I’ve found a smiling leader is loved. Now, you don’t have to go around cheesing all day - that’s fake and people see through that. However, smiles are contagious. They reflect our shared humanity. And I believe they connect us to each other.
These days I don’t sit in a pulpit for worship. When I did though I’d sing, clap, smile, and enjoy myself in worship. Upon leaving a church and then seeing people later they’d often say they missed my smile. Listen, I worked really hard in these churches and there are still things there I helped contribute to - but they missed my smile?
Let your people hear and see your gratitude.
Gratitude Creates Room for More Blessings
It’s the gift that keeps on giving. There is something about giving thanks that creates space for more. I don’t know what it is. Gratitude begets more for which to be thankful. It’s as if it flows through a hose.
However ungratefulness is like a knot or pebble in a hose preventing flow. Ungratefulness is hard and harsh. It’s constricting.
Action Brings Clarity:
Write 3 thank you notes this week to people in your congregation this week. Consider someone who’s out front leading boldly, someone who’s behind the scenes, and someone you caught doing something good.
In every meeting this month ask for whom in the ministry are you grateful? Give some time to pouring thanks on each other OR Ask people to share why they’re thankful for the people on their left or right. Next week we will look at gratitude in adversity.