Thanks for Noticing

CABARET, HAITI - NOVEMBER 24: A cholera patien...
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“I’ve got to do something.” she thought to herself after hearing the mission team report on the conditions they had seen in Haiti.  The description was so vivid, she could see in her mind’s eye the faces of the children who needed intravenous fluids to recover from the cholera epidemic.  “I’m 80 years old, what on earth can I do?”

The team answered her question.  “For five dollars, our Haitian partners can provide a full course of Oral Rehydration Therapy and save children who otherwise would have to be hospitalized.”

So she wrote a check for $100.00 to the church like the team instructed.

The very next Friday, she opened her mail to find a hand-written thank you note from the mission team leader along with a little brochure describing the therapy she had invested in.  The note said that her gift would help save 20 children at the treatment center in Haiti.

She had never received a thank you note from her church before.  Every year, she received an end of the year statement from the church for her taxes.  But no one had ever before taken the time to write to her thanking her for her gift.

She was so surprised that she pulled out her checkbook and wrote another check  for the Haiti project for $10,000.  This check she sent to the team leader with her own thank you note.

We don’t give thanks to increase the bottom line, but giving thanks lets people know that someone noticed that they had responded with generosity to the call of God.  That reinforcement is an important element of helping people grow as disciples of Jesus Christ and as faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to them.

Wise churches learn to express thanks.

Philippians 4:10-17

I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.

external links:

UMCOR Haiti
How to Write a Thank You Note
WNCC UMC
Stewardship Education from the United Methodist Foundation

2 comments
  1. I completely agree. Not only are hand written thank you notes valuable in establishing relationships and expressing gratitude, but a hand written note of any kind is meaningful. With so many fast, electronic means for communicating, taking the time to hand write a note, buy a stamp, and put it in the mail (or even pick up the phone and have an actual conversation), is a significant gesture. Another meaningful way to do this in the local church is to write notes to the children and youth when they’ve done something significant or meaningful. Students LOVE to get mail and it’s a great reminder that the church and God loves them.

  2. I just wrote one today in grateful response to some information shared with me about a helping ministry along with the other writer’s perceived notion of our common gratitude for the new president at Brevard College. The value is complete in the writing and sending of my grateful acknowledgement of his note. Though something tells me that another, even deeper, encounter is going to happen down the road because of our mututally expressed gratitude that will lead to the blessing of many other people.

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