WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
TOPIC: APPRECIATE PEOPLE
BY T. O. BANSO
“The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day — and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18 New King James Version).
I was told the story of a rich man in Nigeria who came to his village for the funeral of his father. He spared nothing to give his father a befitting burial. There was so much to eat and drink. The villagers preferred to eat their favourite meal, pounded yam, but he gave an instruction that they should be given rice, which they did so much like.
The rich man said the pounded yam should be reserved for his distinguished guests coming from the different parts of the country. The villagers felt unappreciated, but having graced the occasion, they ate what they were served because of their love for the dead man.
Some of the special guests the rich man was expecting from outside the village came, but most of them, for unexplainable reasons, had not arrived at the time the villagers left. The rich man kept expecting them. Unfortunately, it became obvious that they would not come. All things were ready, but most of the guests for whom the pounded yam was reserved didn’t come. The stone that the builder rejected eventually became the chief cornerstone! This man sent for the villagers to come and eat because nothing must be wasted.
The villagers refused to come. They told him they were not beggars and asked him to send the food to his special guests whom he valued more than them. The food was wasted. This rich man was not as fortunate as the man in Luke 14:15-24 whose invitation to all his guests to attend his feast .was turned down at the last moment. He had to give instruction that the crippled, the lame, and the blind be invited from the streets and alleys of the city to come and eat. They came, ate, drank and nothing was wasted. That was one of the parables of the Kingdom of God by Jesus Christ.
Learn to appreciate people– recognize their good qualities, value, and importance. People are more important than things. People are more important than money, food, and so on. Don’t despise people. Hardly can you do anything without human beings! Money is not everything. If you have money but you don’t have the right people to do what you want to do, you are still handicapped.
If you appreciate people, your life will appreciate. If you don’t appreciate people, your life will depreciate. Whatever you appreciate in people will appreciate. Jesus died for people. When Jesus started His ministry, He had to work with people of diverse backgrounds. He chose a team of twelve disciples (Matthew 12:1-4). Everybody had His own strengths and weaknesses.
Jesus worked with them, though they were not perfect; and nobody is. Jesus appreciated His disciples. He committed His ministry into their hands before He ascended to heaven after His resurrection. He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which He had told them about, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He told them they shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and they shall be witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:4-8). Jesus appreciated His disciples. He worked with them and depended on them for the continuation of His ministry.
Nehemiah worked with people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He appreciated them– recognized their good qualities, value, and importance. They completed the work in a record time of 52 days despite all intimidation, threat, lies and propaganda (Nehemiah 6:15).
Nehemiah acknowledged the people that worked with him to achieve the feat. In Nehemiah 3, he took time to highlight the specific contributions of others from the high priest to the priests, individuals, and families; he mentioned specific sections they built. He detailed what different people did. He didn’t praise himself but praised the people.
Nehemiah didn’t diminish the contributions of others to the success of the project as some would have done. In Nehemiah 7:70-72, he mentioned the gifts of some of the family leaders, the governor, the other leaders, the rest of the people gave towards the project. Appreciate people.
Deborah, the only female judge in Israel, also appreciated people. He sent for Barak, charged him to raise a 10,000 army and encouraged him by going with him to the battle. She believed in his leadership. In her song after the victory over the Canaanites, she acknowledged the leaders who led and the willingness of the people who willingly offered themselves (Judges 5:2).
In verse 9, she said her heart was with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. And in verses 5:13-15, she mentioned the role played by the people of the Lord from Ephraim, Benjamin, Makir, and Zebulun, and the princes of Issachar. Verse 18 says Zebulun risked his life, as did Naphtali, on the battlefield. She appreciated Jael, the woman who killed the Canaanite’s army commander, Sisera (verse 24). Deborah appreciated everyone’s contribution. She didn’t give the credit to herself and Barak who led the army.
Appreciate people. You need them. Paul appreciated people. They played important roles in his ministry. In appreciation, he spoke well of Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, Philemon, Onesiphorus, the Macedonian churches among others. (Romans 16:21, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 16:10; 1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:14; 8:23; 12:18; Philippians 2:25-30, 4:18, 2 Timothy 1:16-18; 4:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7; Philemon 4-7).
In appreciation of the household of Onesiphorus, Paul said, “The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day — and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18New King James Version). Paul equally devoted a whole chapter, Romans 16, to greet different people who were dear to him; he mentioned them individually.
You can’t succeed alone. Appreciate people. Appreciate your family members, staff, neighbours, colleagues, friends, your benefactors, and others who are in your life. They are not perfect, just like you, but recognize their good qualities, value, and importance. Let them feel appreciated. Don’t wait until you lose someone before you appreciate him/her. Tell them now that you appreciate them. Tell them often. It makes people feel good and do more.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to appreciate the people you have brought into my life. I shall not abuse anyone who comes my way in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to build people and not destroy them.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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