I heard a pastor today talk about the best way to develop an effective ministry. He said it is all about asking the right question. He decided to start a ministry to college students. He did not want to have a place for them to just come and hang out for Bible study; he wanted them to have a vision for life. He framed his ministry to them around the question, “Do you want to lead the people of your generation to capture the world for Christ?” His question quickly captivates the hearts of the students and gives them a vision for the future. In his question he values them and their leadership potential.
It makes me ask the question about how we get someone to do what we want? Is the only way I can get you to do anything is if I give you what you want. Philosopher John Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.
What do you want? Some of the things most people want include health, food, sleep, money, life after death, sexual gratification, the well-being of their children, and the feeling of importance. Most all of these wants can be gratified. But there is one deep longing which is seldom gratified and that is the desire to be great or important.
What would arouse the most enthusiasm in your heart?
Would it be someone who encourages and appreciates you? There is probably nothing that kills a person’s ambition more than the criticism from others, particularly superiors. Charles Schwab once said, “I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.”
Is appreciation one of the most neglected virtues of today?
Somehow, a parent neglects to praise their son or daughter when they bring home a good report care, and they fail to encourage their children when they first succeed in baking a cake or building a birdhouse. Is there anything that pleases a child more than this kind of parental interest and approval?
In all of our encounters with people we should never forget that all our associates are human beings who hunger for appreciation. Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude in the lives of everyone you encounter. You might be surprised how it will set off the beginnings of a friendship.
Can we stop thinking about our accomplishments and wants? Can we try to figure out the other person’s good points and give honest, sincere appreciation? That person will cherish our words and treasure them, and maybe repeat them in their heart years after we have forgotten them. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” May you and I be known as a people who heal with our words.
When has someone spoken words of appreciation to you and how have they influenced you?