As we prepare for our Marketplace Mission Trip, I have been asking God to show me different ideas for how we can minister to and serve others in our workplaces. Over the last few days, I have heard several speakers on different topics at two conferences of interest – one on HR, and another on living our faith at work.
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thinking about the talks, God gave me a genuine appreciation for their effort and their courage. They took the time to prepare and to try to give me something I didn’t have. They spent their energy to help me improve. And I wanted to thank each of them for their effort, their ideas, and their courage.
Every day, we can express gratitude to the people around us. But when I started writing, I also wrote appreciate others. Then, I began to wonder about the difference between gratitude and appreciation.
I wonder if our workplaces have become appreciation-free zones.
I found this post and felt it represented the difference I sensed when I first wrote the words. Appreciation is the ability to see and value something. Gratitude is expressed appreciation. In the post above, the author said that “Gratitude is being thankful,” while “appreciation is seeing the good.“
Because I haven’t developed the habit of seeing and appreciating the good, I often fail to appreciate. I can be selfish and judge, compare, and criticize. Consequently, when I judge others or criticize, I miss the opportunity to appreciate the good that took place in a talk, a friendship, a warm smile, or an interaction with a coworker.
I wonder if our workplaces have become appreciation-free zones. Do we constantly focus on how the other fell short or, as Roosevelt said, “where the doer of deeds could have done them better.” Have you ever been in (or caused) a situation where no good deed goes unpunished? Have you ever had a boss or a coworker for whom nothing was ever good enough?
Commit to see the good done by others and express gratitude. Don’t be shy. Our marketplace needs transformed Christ-followers to lay down their lives. When we see the good and express it, we are blessed and so is the person we thank. Appreciation and gratitude are sustainable, replaceable, limitless. God can make anyone, even me, a fountain of appreciation and gratitude, refreshing everyone we meet.