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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 Iíll 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 Iím 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. Hereís the deed!" Church, we are building for eternity. Do we build with inferior materials or do we build with choice materials on the foundation of Christ? Donít ever forget, the house we will have later on depends on the material we are using now.
YOUíRE THE BEST
My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier youíll be a general; if you become a monk youíll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
SOURCE: Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist. Citation: Celebrating Mother: A Book of Appreciation. Edited by Glorya Hale and Carol Kelly-Gangi. MetroBooks, 2002. pg. 63.
David Ireland wrote a book titled Letters to an Unborn Child. Ireland was dying from a crippling neurological disease when he discovered that his wife was pregnant. Knowing that he would never see his own child, he took up his pen to write all that he would never have a chance to say. In those letters, he writes to his unborn child about his wife, the childís mother:
Your mother is very special. Few men know what itís like to receive appreciation for taking their wives out to dinner when it entails what it does for us. It means that she has to dress me, shave me, brush my teeth, comb my hair; wheel me out of the house and down the steps, open the garage and put me in the car, take the pedals off the chair, stand me up, sit me in the seat of the car, twist me around so that Iím comfortable, fold the wheelchair, put it in the car, go around to the other side of the car, start it up, back it out, get out of the car, pull the garage door down, get back into the car, and drive off to the restaurant.
And then, it starts all over again; she gets out of the car, unfolds the wheelchair, opens the door, spins me around, stands me up, seats me in the wheelchair, pushes the pedals out, closes and locks the car, wheels me into the restaurant, then takes the pedals off the wheelchair so I wonít be uncomfortable. We sit down to have dinner, and she feeds me throughout the entire meal. And when itís over she pays the bill, pushes the wheelchair out to the car again, and reverses the same routine. And when itís over Ė finished Ė with real warmth sheíll say, ďHoney, thank you for taking me out to dinner.Ē
I never quite know what to answer
James Emery White, You Can Experience an Authentic Life (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), 104-105.
GRATITUDE- A NECESSARY ATTITUDE
A few years ago Dr. Nick Stinnett of the University of Nebraska conducted a group of studies called the "Family Strengths Research Project"
Stinnett and his researchers identified six qualities that make for strong families. The first quality and one of the most important to be found in strong families was the quality of appreciation. Families that are strong are strong in part, Dr. Stinnett concludes, because family members express to each other their appreciation for what the other members DO and for who they ARE.
In a similar study another researcher looked into the effect of praise in the workplace.
His study showed that the ratio of praise to criticism in the workplace needs to be four to one before employees feel that there is a balance - that there must be four times as much praise as there is criticism before they feel good about their work and about the environment they work in.
That is pretty staggering information - information that tells us that if we want to do something good, that...
I heard a story some time ago of a missionary in Africa who gave a Bible to one of the African men. When it was given to him, the man hugged it close & expressed great appreciation for the precious gift of Godís 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 Godís Word to everybody who lives in my village."
We may smile at that, but what a testimony! The message of Godís Word was so wonderful to him that he wanted to share it with everyone he knew!
Last year about this time our Tennessee Titans were involved in a heart wrenching defeat in the Super Bowl. All season they had fought back from deficits to win and it appeared as though they were going to pull off another comeback victory over the Rams. Unfortunately they came up about a yard and a half short.
The next evening when the team returned to Nashville they were bused to Adelphia Coliseum where more than 45,000 fans had gathered to greet and honor their team.
People painted their faces. They put on their Titan hats and jerseys. They screamed wildly as the team exited the bus and players were introduced.
When that tribute to the Titans team was over not one fan walked away saying, “That event was a dud. That did nothing for me.”
The event was a great success, not because of the performance, the team didn’t play. It wasn’t their speeches, because few of the players are great public speakers. It was a great success because people understood the purpose. The purpose wasn’t to please the fans. The purpose of the event was to honor the team and show how much they were appreciated.
That is what worship is about. Not about pleasing you and me, but expressing our appreciation and love to our Lord and Savior.
The only monument in the world built in the shape of
a bug, to honor a bug is located in Fort Rucker,
Alabama. In 1915 the Mexican boll weevil invaded
Southeast Alabama and destroyed 60% of the cotton crop. In
desperation, the farmers turned to planting
peanuts. By 1917 the peanut industry had become so
profitable that the county harvested more peanuts
than any other county in the nation. In gratitude,
the people of the town erected a statue and
inscribed these words,
"In profound appreciation of the boll weevil, and what it has done as the
herald of prosperity." The instrument of their suffering had become the
means of their blessing.
Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.
Kate Samperi, author
SOURCE: Celebrating Mothers: A Book...
"Christmas is less than what it can be and less than what it was intended to be where gifts are given grudgingly, and where gifts are received without appreciation."
"Humor is the salt of personality. Its presence is an evidence of good nature, of an appreciation of the real values of life, and of the lack of tenseness that characterizes some people. It is the most effective means of easing a difficult situation. Here it is important to differentiate between wit and humor; wit is of the mind, humor is of the heart."