The Principle of:
Being Thankful for the People to Whom One Ministers
...remaining Thankful for
hose under one's care releases a stream of Kingdom life toward them.
I Thessalonians 1:2a We give thanks to God always for you all, ...
Sometimes--and this is not a good thing--those in leadership become
angry and resentful toward the people under their care. Not one would
care for this to be known, but it is a difficult thing to hide. It comes
out in speech, in the way one looks at another, and in body language.
It is inevitable: what is in the heart of a leader will eventually come
out in his or her message. So, it is important that the heart of the messenger
be pure of defilement, especially the defilement that comes from being
BECAUSE of the alarming number of people being wounded by ministries,
it behooves us to give heed to this principle. Books are being published
on this subject. One that recently came into my hand is Healing
Spiritual Abuse by Ken Blue, published by InterVarsity
Press. It is an alarming book, but I suggest it for reading. It describes
many of the situations like those into which we have been called as counselors.
Actually, our recent finding of so many people who have been abused by
their "shepherds" has prompted that we go ahead with this manual. While
we try and protect shepherds from attack by disgruntled believers, we
do see the need for them to become more aware of those who are hurting
in their flock.
1 THERE IS A TERRIBLE EFFECT THAT CAN COME FROM BEING NOT THANKFUL.
Take note of this passage. It is a Scripture that has a principle
we believe applies here. Rom 1:21--Because that, when they
knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became
vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Although this verse has its first application to the terrifying descent
of mankind into sin, we can find in it the principle that grows out of
being not thankful. It is a principle applicable to Pastors, or any leaders,
whose hearts are not thankful for those to whom they minister. It will
cause great trouble in bringing a clear and direct word from the Lord
to the people.
Even in knowing God, the absence of thanksgiving casts its effect on the imaginations. They become vain.
This means the reasonings of the mind and heart lose substance and
become empty of what is meaningful and productive. Following this, the foolish heart becomes dark with no sense of direction. Imaginations is from the Greek dialogísmos from which our word
"dialogue" comes. Significantly, in this passage it means the interchange
and discussion of ideas within one's own heart and mind. It is in the
heart and mind that the message of the preacher, or teacher, or parent,
takes form. It develops wonderfully when the Holy Spirit has access to
the dialogues and reasonings of the mind, but it become a hard and wounding
word in the one that holds resentment and unthankfulness. The word foolish applied by Paul to the heart in this same verse is from asunetós. It means senseless, unable to put
things together with intelligence. Being without thanksgiving in general,
and particularly toward those under one's care, leads to this darkness
of heart and the inability to receive or give proper guidance.
Jeremiah discovered a catharsis for his heart. He said, Thy words were
found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing
of mine heart--Jer 15:16. David knew the important place of
the heart in the preparation of one's speech. He said, My heart was
hot within me, while I was musing (meditating; contemplating God's
truth and its application to life) the fire burned: then spake I with
my tongue--Ps. 39:3.
2 PAUL SET THE EXAMPLE OF BEING THANKFUL FOR THOSE UNDER ONE'S CARE.
Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all...
Take note of the word first. Before Paul presented
the amazing revelation of truth contained in Romans, he first
thanked God for all the people to whom he was sending it.
This apparently was his general practice. In Eph 1:16 he said, I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention
of you in my prayers. In Col 1:3 he said, We give thanks
to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
In II Thes 2:13 he said, But we are bound to give thanks
alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord... Bound in
this verse is from ophéilo which means to be obliged
by what is due or fitting. What a conviction Paul held! This statement
could mean, "It is our moral and spiritual responsibility to give thanks
always to God for you."
Paul's conviction concerning this ran so deep that he exhorted Timothy,
the young preacher who would follow in his steps that, first of all,
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made
for all men (I Tim 2:1).
3 DEVELOPING THE DISCIPLINE OF THANKFULNESS IN EVERYTHING.
Sometimes, some of the people under one's care are troublesome and
do not quickly evoke thanksgiving. But here again, we can learn from Paul
in the admonition he gave near the end of the First Thessalonian Epistle. In every thing give thanks: for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you--I Thes 5:18. Give
thanks is from eucharistéo from which the
word "eucharist" comes. This word has been adopted by the Roman Church
to name part of its liturgy. It is no less fitting that all believers
and leaders, liturgical and non-liturgical, take up the practice of a
literal "Eucharist," the giving of thanks for everything and every
I have found this a liberating exercise, to simply take a day in which
I will thank the Lord for every person that comes to my mind. When done
for loved ones, it calls forth a spirit of supplication in their behalf,
along with a faith that the will of God shall be accomplished in them.
Thanksgiving for the people to whom we minister will make our hearts tender
toward each one. It calls forth a revelation of God's will and purpose
for them, along with a genuine love and faith on their behalf. Amazingly,
it takes the drudgery of hard labor from ministry and makes it a delight.
4 WE CAN LEARN MUCH FROM DAVID ABOUT THANKFULNESS.
As we take note of some passages from the Psalms of David, we will
find their energy helps quicken thankfulness in our own hearts. His practice
of thanksgiving goes beyond thankfulness for those under one's care. His
Psalms carry us on into a life of thankfulness as they help dismiss
the negativity and drudgery that tries to overtake so many who minister.
A person who has learned this thankfulness has much to give to a congregation
• Psalm 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, 0 LORD,
among the heathen (the nations), and sing praises unto Thy
Name. We learn to be thankful in the presence of unbelievers, never
allowing them to hear us complaining or expressing discontent, especially
concerning the people to whom we minister.
• Psalm 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee,
and not be silent. 0 LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee for
ever. We learn to take up the habit of being thankful at all times,
for everything thing, in everything--even for ever. This
is a discipline that can develop in our spirits and will go with us into
the eternal Kingdom.
• Psalm 35:18 I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation:
I will praise Thee among much people. We learn to express our thanks
unto the Lord in the midst of all who confess the Name of our Lord, even
among those who believe and worship differently. We confess there is a great congregation who worship the same Lord we do.
• Psalm 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the
heathen, to give thanks unto Thy Holy Name, and to triumph in Thy praise.
Take note of the last part of this verse. So close to giving thanks
there comes triumph.
Some exercises in thankfulness:
1) Find all the Scriptures you can about thankfulness. Meditate in
the Word, Allow it to come over on your spirit--wonderful Fire that
it is--and burn up the dross of unthankfulness and its close cousin resentment. If you are a leader of others, and you carry unthankfulness
in your spirit, you will impart it to those who are under your care. If
you hold resentment and unthankfulness in your spirit toward the people
to whom you minister, they will know it. If you become thankful toward
them, they will know this also. With your new condition, they can receive
life from you and grow into maturity.
2) Set aside an occasional day and just simply thank the Lord
for every person that comes to your mind, particularly those to whom you
minister. This will set your spirit free to impart life and love to these
people. If you can, take long walks for "thanksgiving."
3) Make a list of every annoying and pressing situation surrounding
you. Thank the Lord for each one, even if you think it came from the devil.
This will bring it over into the court of the Lord and open the way for
the working of His grace and power. Incidentally, there is nothing
so frustrating to the devil as when we thank the Lord for some thing that
came from the enemies hand. This throws confusion into the enemies camp
and opens the way for the sanctification of what he meant for evil.
© Berean Ministries
Continue to Lesson Three:
The Principle of Praying
for Those under One's Care
Visit Us at http://www.maschil.com