The Art (and Skill) of Expressing Thanks

By on November 1, 2010   /   Leave a comment

One of the most overlooked aspects of support raising is that of giving thanks, not only to the Lord, the giver of all good gifts, but also to those who partner with us in ministry. Communicating appreciation is essential in our relationship with God and is also a primary way of nurturing supporters. It needs special priority in our ministry.  inadequate response for gifts may be a hindrance in relationships between ministry workers and their supporters. It seems to be a common human trait for us missionaries to fail to say thanks either because of forgetfulness or being too busy doing “God’s work.” Jesus also experienced ingratitude when only one of ten lepers He healed returned to thank him (Luke 17:12-19). After that one appreciative leper came back, Jesus exclaimed “…Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?…Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” In other words, when we  express thanks, could it be that our faith is at work strengthening us, while also appropriately responding to the gift? That may shed new light on the significance of communicating gratitude!

Whenever expressing thanks is in order—but not done—it may produce a literal break in relationship. This failure alone may cause diminishing support. One church I know of drops missionaries from the budget if they don’t hear from them. Donors may discontinue support to those who do not respond with gratitude for their giving. Aside from hearing that the gift was received, supporters need to be commended for their partnership in ministry. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a great example of this, expressing thanks to God and their church for the gifts sent to him. Paul thanks God, commends the Philippians, and expresses his commitment to them, while also taking time to speak words of life to build them up.

You may wonder if I’m always great at this? No! Even as I write, I’m experiencing “conviction nudges” about several recent special gifts I need to acknowledge, affirming the timeliness of their check, and the way in which God used  their generosity to encourage and strengthen me. The more we understand the role of thankfulness in our life in Christ, the more sensitive we become to His nudges for “right responses.” The importance of expressing thanks  came home to me in a painful way recently. One person to whom I had gone out of my way to be kind and give gifts to gave little acknowledgment to my generosity. Then I had the opportunity to do similarly to someone else who immediately and graciously acknowledged my gift. What a difference that made to my gift-giving experience! It made me want to give more to the grateful person, while I found myself pulling back from the one who seemed to expect me to give to them, and with little thanks expressed.

A gift, whether small or large, deserves a personal thank you (not every ongoing monthly gift needs this, but first-time or single gifts certainly do). A quick response of appreciation, whether by phone, email, or personal note, will be a special encouragement to those who have blessed you. Ask the Lord for words of affirmation, so you’re not only conveying thankfulness, but also building up the other person.

Yes, expressing thanks is both an art and a skill. It requires listening and responding to the Lord, while also having tools (thank you cards, etc.) on hand to communicate gratitude and encouragement in a very practical way. May the Lord help each of us to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18-19)


Latest SRS Blog Post

Support Raising Solutions
PO BOX 3556
Fayetteville, AR, 72702
1(800) 595-4881