I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. – Romans 16:1-2
The story is told of Carlyle who had a very devoted wife. She sacrificed everything for his sake, but he never gave her a single expression of appreciation for which she yearned. In the course of time, she came to regard herself as the most miserable woman in the city and evidently died of heart hunger. After her death, Carlyle, reading her diary, realized the truth. A friend found him at her grave suffering intense remorse and exclaiming, “If I had only known!”
It has been said that the deepest of human needs is the need to be appreciated. Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, fat or slim, we yearn for appreciation. And when that yearning is satisfied, we practically bloom. That makes appreciation an essential element of human relationships.
What then is appreciation?
Simply put, it is:
– A feeling or expression of gratitude
– A favourable opinion of something or someone
– Recognition of something or someone’s qualities
– A written or spoken statement of somebody’s qualities
To appreciate, in a lot of sense, is to increase in value. But one of our greatest problems in life is that we are so caught up in our pursuits that we often forget to appreciate the process. We forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people travelling with us or those we meet on the way.
It was Mary Kay Ash who said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.” According to Mother Teresa, there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. It therefore behooves us to be constantly mindful of the people around us. Nothing can substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.
Our text is taken from the last chapter of one of the most profound books in the Bible on the subject of salvation and God’s grace to humanity. But it moves from theology to relationships in a very deep way. Apostle Paul lists, with vivid descriptions, his appreciations for people who had been partners with him in the ministry one way or the other.
To be concluded tomorrow…