Summary: Here are practical applications to showing appreciation to the Body of Christ
A Full Measure of Thanksgiving
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:23-24)
1 Corinthians 12:4 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
I think of the great Christian athlete, Eric Liddell, “God’s Joyful Runner.” He won a gold medal in the 400-meter and a bronze in the 200-meter at the 1924 Paris Olympics. His refusal to run on a Sunday is detailed in “Chariots of Fire.” Two great scenes come to my mind as I consider the film made of this Christian hero of the faith. One when Eric said, “I sense His pleasure when I run” and two when Eric was handed a note that said, “The Good Book says, ‘God honors those who honor Him.’” Eric faced enormous pressures from team mates, his countryman, and fans when he refused to run a race on a Sunday. No doubt this note placed his thoughts on God’s view of things and gave him courage to live out his convictions before Jesus Christ, His Savior and Lord.
Every obedient child of God faces enormous pressures from those in this world as they walk instep with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they need to hear from those who will point their spiritual hearts to God and Christ in the midst of the trials and pressures of life.
Spiritual gifts are best understood as being Holy Spirit enabled to serve the Lord, the Body of Christ and those in this world for the glory of Jesus Christ. The church is not a building, denomination, or fellowship. The church is the Body of Christ, sinners saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8) Born again Christians have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of Christ, (Ephesians 2:22) thus, they are equipped by Him to do service for the building of the Kingdom of God. When we express gratitude to those who are exercising their Spiritual gifts through sacrificial love, (1 Corinthians 12-14) we are in fact expressing gratitude to God who created (Isaiah 45:12) and called the person to Christ, (John 6:44) expressing gratitude to Christ who purchased sinners by giving His life (Revelation 5:9) and expressing gratitude to the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts as He chooses. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
Here is a list of some very key Spiritual gifts that are worthy of expressions of gratitude (this is not a full exposition on Holy Spirit gifts or how they are to function in the Body of Christ). To help you get a grasp on these gifts I am placing them in three categories, 1.) Service Gifts, 2.) Sign Gifts, and 3.) Spiritual Support Gifts. (Please note: You may write a note, give a card or even speak personally to the servant of the Lord exercising any of these gifts.)
Administration – Romans 12:8 speaks of the gift of administration or leadership. There are those who have on different occasions given direction, directed or governed some key spiritual ministry opportunity for the glory of Christ. Take time to thank those who you have seen administer this gift in some way. Be specific. Example: “I want to thank you for taking the time to oversee the __________________ ministry.”
Encouragement – Romans 12:8 speaks of the gift of encouragement. Often there is someone who has been in the same circumstance that you are in. Through the counsel of God’s Word and testimony that glorifies the Lord, this encourager spoke a word that kept you on the course God had set you on. Be specific. Example: “I want to thank you for the encouragement the Lord gave me when you shared __________________.”
Contributing – Romans 12:8 speaks of those who have the gift of giving to the work of the Lord. This gift is an enabling of the Holy Spirit to give beyond the tithe. These Christians have given repeatedly to the work of the Lord and to meeting the needs of the people. When appropriate, thank that person for a specific gift and share how it was used of the Lord.
Helps or Serving – Romans 12:7 speaks of those who are known as being Christians or people who express a life of helping others. When you hear of a practical need, it does not surprise you to hear that those who have this gift are right at hand to meet the need again and again and again. When you are aware of the person exercising this gift, take time to thank that person. Being specific takes the expression of appreciation right to the heart.