I was returning from a recent trip and was pleasantly surprised to hear the sounds of a string trio in the airport. They finished a song right after I walked past. I heard several people applaud politely, but I failed to join them. A few seconds later I felt convicted about my silence. I can make excuses that they were behind me or that I was in a hurry to get home. But the bottom line is that it would have cost me nothing to put my hands together a few times.
We all internalize different sayings into our personal “operating systems.” Two that have stuck with me are “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” and “you get what you pay for.” No surprise that I’m skeptical of “free” offers. And perhaps it explains why I’m slow to give things away, even when doing so costs me nothing.
Leaders have countless opportunities to give away things that are free, or that cost no more than a few minutes of their time. It’s the genuine and specific appreciation you express to a staff member or volunteer leader who has put in long hours for a major program. Or checking on a colleague who was having a bad week. It’s showing up for a few minutes at an event to demonstrate your support. Or adding a couple of sentences in your weekly article to spotlight someone’s accomplishment.
How are you perceived by those that work most closely with you? Would they say that praise comes sparingly or reluctantly? Could you give away more of what costs you nothing? And if you did, how might that change the culture of your church or ministry?
Another old saying is that “the best things in life are free.” I need to demonstrate that truth by expressing appreciation more often, and perhaps you do as well.
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