At our last meeting of Managing Elders for 2015, we were reflecting on the past, wonderful year of ministry and feeling appreciation for the many, many people who give of themselves to make Bethel the place that it is. We were asking ourselves, “How can we express to the congregation the deep appreciation we are feeling?”
It seems like the answer to that question should be simple, but it is more complicated than you might imagine. There are two reasons why.
First, there is the practical issue. When you start thanking people in any kind of way, publicly or even through private gestures or gifts, you always run the risk of leaving someone out. Well-intentioned efforts along this line can leave those who were not thanked feeling that their sacrifice is less valuable than others’. That is NOT the message we want to give.
Secondly, there is the faith issue. As Christ followers, we know that all of our talents and resources are gifts from God. Our good actions are like moonlight—a beautiful reflection of the sun (Son) that is shining off of us. In our hearts we want the ultimate praise to go heavenward. We do not want our egos stroked.
So what to do? The Apostle Paul shows us the way forward. Paul lived with a deep sense of gratitude for his fellow believers, and in his letters to the churches he frequently expressed this by saying: “I thank God for you.” Following Paul’s model, the Managing Elders asked me to write a Pastor’s Corner to express their thanks to you.
So that is what I am doing right now. Speaking on behalf of all the Managing Elders let me say: “We thank God for you Bethel—sincerely and from the bottom of our hearts.”
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