You Are Appreciated!
A wealthy man before leaving on an extended vacation said to a contractor, “While I am away, I want you to build me a fine new home according to these plans. Be sure you work with extreme care, and use the best of everything. Tell me the cost as soon as you have it and I’ll send you a check.” During the process of construction the contractor discovered many opportunities to substitute inferior materials; he put in his own pocket the money he saved. His employer would never know the difference, and he himself would profit. But he soon regretted his dishonesty, for the wealthy man upon his return inspected the finished home and said: “You have built it exactly as I wanted it, and I’m sure that you used the best of everything in its construction. Now, in appreciation for your long years of service to me, I am giving you this new home for your very own. Here’s the deed!”
How is that for a twist on appreciation?
How different is this next story on appreciation.
A missionary in Africa gave a Bible to one of the African men there. When it was given to him, the man hugged the Bible & expressed great appreciation for the precious gift of God’s Word that the missionary had given him.
But when the missionary saw him a few days later he noticed, much to his dismay, that the Bible looked like it was already falling apart, & that many of its pages were missing. The missionary asked him, “What happened? What did you do to your Bible? When I gave it to you I thought you considered it to be a treasured possession.”
The man replied. “Indeed, it is a very precious possession. It is the finest gift I have ever received. It is so precious that when I returned to my village I very carefully chose a page & tore it out & gave it to my mother. Then I tore out another page & gave it to my father. And I tore out another page & gave it to my wife. Finally, I gave a page of God’s Word to everybody who lives in my village.”
He so appreciated the message of God’s Word that he wanted to share it with everyone he knew!
Ephesians 1:15–16 (ESV)
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
· Paul said “I give thanks for you” – “and I am going to demonstrate my appreciation by praying for you.”
· If you are going to value people in your life, you should express that in a tangible way by bringing people to God in prayer.
· Giving thanks for people is appreciating them.
· Praying for people is appreciating them.
· The word ‘appreciate’ means to…
· DEFINITION: appreciate – to rise in value
o It is the opposite of depreciate which means…
§ depreciate – to decrease in value
· So appreciation means to rise in value in your estimation.
o It means people rise in value to you
o If you go back over your saved life, think about all of the ministers, all of the pastors, all of the teachers, all of the rest of those involved in ministry that preached a sermon, wrote a book, put out a CD or DVD that taught you something about God that changed your life! Or or or…
§ Lived a life in front of you so you could see Jesus – how valuable is that?
o We should appreciate these people.
o They should rise in value in our estimation.
§ How valuable they are to us.
· But what about some of the other people in your life? There are more people in your life than ministers.
· How valuable are these people God has put in your life?
o Do a survey on this – ask the question.
o Sometimes it is just a matter of stopping and thinking about it.
§ Our lack of being properly appreciative is not that we are lacking in that trait.
§ It is not that we are not appreciative people
§ It is that sometimes that we are going so fast or so intently that we do not stop to analyze what just took place.
§ So, slowing down will help you value people properly.
o Appreciation is a learned trait so our goal should be to…
§ Learn to live a lifestyle of appreciation, right where you are, on the way to where you are going
· Now, we have all been on the wrong end of this issue.
· Where we feel we are not being properly appreciated. Maybe evening taken advantage of.
· How does that feel to not be appreciated?
· Now here are some questions for you.
o Now which feels better? Appreciation or neglect?
o Are you frustrated when no one says thank you for a job well done?
o Are you exasperated from being overworked and but yet underappreciated?
o Is getting more criticism than encouragement grinding you down?
o Do you wonder if all the time that you put into church, work and life are worth it?
o Do you find yourself wondering does anyone really care?
· Well dear heart let me help you, as one who has already confessed his lack in this area, that if you are feeling like you are on the short-end of all of those questions let me tell you that men may forget what you have done and failed to show proper appreciation that there is one who never ever forgets.
· There is one who fully appreciates you.
· There is one who sees everything you do
· There is one who knows every sacrifice that you make
· There is one who understands every thoughtful act you have ever done
· And who comprehends all things that you have given out of yourself for others
· He is mindful of every prayer that you have ever prayed for others.
o God cares for you, appreciates you and He never forgets.
o God has a good memory.
o The memory capacity of even an ordinary human mind is fabulous. We may not consider ourselves particularly adept at remembering technical data … but consider how many faces we can recognize, how many names call up some past incident, how many words we can spell and define … It is estimated that in a lifetime, a brain can store one million billion “bits” of information. Isaac Asimov (1920- )
o If the human brain has that kind of capacity, what about the Lord’s?
Malachi 3:16 (ESV)
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.
o God never forgets!
o Everything is recorded but yet, His memory is selective because He chooses to forget certain things, like your sins!
Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
25“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.
· Are you glad about that?
· But there is stuff that God remembers – faith for example!
The “Remembrance” Side
· In Hebrews chapter there are 12 different people recorded in this chapter who believed God –
· God appreciates faith!
o Through faith Noah
o Through faith Moses
o Through faith Abraham
· He appreciated it so well that He had it recorded all of it for you in one place.
· All 12 of these people in Hebrews 11 are O.T. people
· The time span is like 4000 years.
o God has a good memory!
§ This Bible has been passed down from generation to generation
o He wants every generation to know how these 12 people believed Him.
· Know this about the Lord!
Ephesians 6:8 (NKJV)
8knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
· The Lord is saying I appreciate you so much that whatever good thing you do, I am going to give that good thing back to you.
· He keeps track of all good things
The “Moment” Side
· Even the small stuff – even the momentary stuff – the stuff that didn’t take you very long to do God takes note of and appreciates
· Let us just stay in this faith arena.
o Ask yourself how long did it take these people in the Bible to believe God?
§ How much time was it?
o How long did they exercise their faith?
o How long did it really take?
§ I will answer that by stating this…
· Life is like a book
o A book is broken up into chapters we call seasons
o At a eulogy, we go through some of the events or chapters of a person’s life – the high spots
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
o Eccl. 3:1 – calls these events or chapters ‘seasons.’
§ Look at the time period here and ask yourself
· “A time to be born and a time to die…”
· How long does it take to be born?
· How long did it take to get you healed?
o Sometimes it was instant!
· These seasons’ are times of faith.
o A lifestyle of faith is filled with seasons or times of faith.
o A lifestyle of faith is filled with short periods of specific faith stretched out over a lifespan.
o The short stuff God remembers and appreciates
Look at some of these moments of faith
· O.T. Saints ‘Moments’ of Faith Remembered by God
Hebrews 11:4 (KJV 1900)
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
· How long was Abel’s moment?
o It was however long it took to make the sacrifice!
o Surely that did not take a long time.
§ It didn’t take years to make a sacrifice!
· What about Enoch’s moment?
· What about Moses moment?
Hebrews 11:28 (ESV)
28 By faith he (Moses) kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
o Read Exodus 11 and find out how long the Moses moment was–
§ Moses heard God and his moment was to obey what God said to him and to do it ‘right now’ – speak now unto the children
§ Tell them that about midnight ‘this night’ – the death angel is coming and so prepare for the Passover.
· Which midnight?
o Midnight of the day that God spoke to Moses.
o How long was Moses moment – it was that very same day!
o He had to step out in faith and act on what God said.
· So what you find out here is that even small moments of faith…
o …are recorded
o …are taken note of
o …are appreciated by God.
· And when you put all this stuff into perspective it actually helps to encourage yourself
· When you see these faith moments in the Bible, ask yourself “How long was that moment”.
o Because so much of the time we think that we have to do some great big think to get God’s attention when it is actually all the little things combined together that gets it done.
· These statements sums up the matter.
o In God’s book of Remembrance, ‘Faith’ and ‘Famous’ go hand in hand.
o Faith for a moment is remembered forever.
· I am going to close with this verse that sums this all up better than I have taught this morning.
Matthew 10:42 (ESV)
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
· Paul said to the Ephesians “I give thanks for you”
· And I am telling you today that God is saying the same thing about you.
· “I, the Most High God, give thanks for you”