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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Just say it . . .

I like to get gifts. I do. I like thank you notes, I like gift certificates, I like love gifts (like, you know, the ones that came from the heart), I like cash. I like surprises. I like it when people pay for dinner and lunch. I like the pastor appreciation gifts I got during pastor appreciation month last month. I like compliments. I like hearing I am doing a good job. I like thank you notes. I like encouraging emails (I keep a file of them). I like high fives after the band has just rocked the Casbah. I like clapping and hooting and hollering after a good performance—the band worked hard, they deserve it.

I have the gift of receiving and I don’t feel bad about it.

Gifts and thank-yous aren’t the only indication of appreciation and a job well done . . . but they sure don’t hurt.

When we lead music, or preach, or lead a team in the church, or do something victorious and we are praised for it, we need to learn how to say thank you.

How weird would it be if my wife worked her rear off in the kitchen to make some gorgeous meal and after I thanked her for what she prepared she said, “oh, I’m really nothing babe. It’s all about Jesus. Thank Him”?


We have a rule on our music team. If someone comes up and says, “good job” you say . . . (drumroll) . . . “thank you.” You can add any other number of phrases like, “heck yeah, everbody rocked didn’t they?”

No little phrases that excuse our part in the performance and smack religious like “oh, it’s all about Jesus” are allowed.

Pretending we are not gifted, ignoring the hours of practice we have dedicated to our craft, having a low-worth disposition, not accepting genuine gratitude when someone recognizes our gifting, degrading ourselves . . . this is not humility. This is not the kind of praise Jesus desires.

Jesus doesn’t want our leftover unwanted praise.

This rejection of compliment is often referred to as false humility.

False means—not real.

In this case, false more accurately means—opposite of.

William Temple, the late Arch Bishop of Canterbury said it well when he said, "Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all."

So then, false humility (again in the words of Temple) is “self-occupation.” False humility responses and an inability to say “thanks” is usually rooted in guilt, fear, erroneous self-image, or trying to cover up our glaring pride that we are well aware of. We feel dirty for feeling good about our own performance so pull a quick, “hey, look that way” as we slip out the back.

It’s okay to be proud of your work. It’s okay to feel good about a job well done.

So, say “thank you.”

And eat your peas.

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