"I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…" Romans 1.8
"I always thank my God for you…" 1st Corinthians 1.4
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you…" Ephesians 1.16
"I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1.3
"I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers…" Philemon 1.4
The outset of the Apostle Paul’s first century letters, sent to churches springing up at the ends of the earth, contain a common refrain: Thanksgiving. Is he merely being polite expressing this ongoing gratitude for his partners in ministry and mission?
I don’t think so. I think he actually meant it.
Sure, that’s how you’re supposed to start a letter. But I think this “Apostle to the Gentiles” really was that thankful for the partnership he had experienced throughout his 10,000 miles of travelling around the known world to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
And I’ll bet that encouragement meant the world to them.
It’s the same way I feel about you, Good Shepherd church family. It is a joy and honor to serve as your pastor! But for the next few sentences, I’d like to call out, in addition, one particular group of you I’m grateful for: Our church staff.
Like Paul, I really mean it.
Unlike him, I often forget to say it.
As we conclude annual staff appraisals and evaluations, I have been struck by the many spiritual gifts and natural abilities within our staff. What’s more, I am constantly amazed at our staff's willingness to go above and beyond their respective job descriptions in service to our Risen Lord and His church.
This month, our Human Resources team is leading a time of staff appreciation. Would you take a moment to write a note, send an e-mail, or give a hug to the members of our committed and hard working staff!?
Like those earliest communities of faith, I’m sure it will mean the world to them.