Summary: According to one researcher, one of the characteristics of a strong family is "appreciation" or thankfulness for others in my family. Why do we find this so hard to do, and how do we train ourselves to be appreciative?
OPEN: Back in the 70’s, a woman wrote an article I found interesting. She said that her cousin had invited them to “Come for a thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, March 20th.”
She wrote: “She was not celebrating an early Thanksgiving. She was saying that all was well with her husband, who had finished a battery of hospital tests.
“In our family,” she said “we sometimes have as many as ten thanksgivings in one year.
They mark happy events for which there are no formal celebration dates: a job promotion, a graduate degree, a good medical report. Sometimes we celebrate with a dinner party, sometimes with a picnic or outing, but always with as many members of our clan as we can round up.”
10 Thanksgivings a year… can you imagine what that would do to your diet???
And yet here in Colossians 3:17 we’re told that 10 Thanksgivings a year would not be enough for a Christian that tried to follow Paul’s advice: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
In WHATEVER we do… every day of every year… we should be giving thanks. We should be known as a “thankful people”.
In fact, Colossians 2:7 declares we should be“…overflowing with thankfulness.”
And in Ephesians 5:20 we’re told that we should be “…ALWAYS giving thanks to God the Father FOR EVERYTHING, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I. We - as Christians - should be known as a thankful and grateful people.
And that should be true of us in EVERY aspect of our lives. Especially – it should be true in our homes and in how we deal with our families.
ILLUS:A few years ago Dr. Nick Stinnett of the Univ. of Nebraska conducted a series of studies in an attempt to discover what characteristics were common in strong families. He and his researchers discovered six qualities. And the first quality and one of the most important to be found in strong families was that of appreciation. They concluded that families which were strong were strong because family members expressed appreciation for what each member DID and for who they WERE.
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 needed to be 4 to 1 before employees felt that there is a balance - that there had be 4 times as much praise as there was criticism before those employees felt good about their work and about the environment they worked in.
(Both studies were reported in Richard J. Fairchild’s "Gratitude-A Necessary Attitude" 2001)
This tells us that people need appreciation. They need praise. And they need these things 4 times as often as they receive criticism to have a healthy environment at work or home.
II. Many families don’t understand this basic reality
ILLUS: A few years back I read about a man who always teased his wife about her lack of interest in household chores. One day he came home with a gag gift – a refrigerator magnet that read: “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.”