Remember...the Contribution of Others
That's why I like what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3 when he writes: "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in the our Lord Jesus Christ."
He thanked God for them, but he did not neglect to tell them how grateful he was for their labours and for their example.
Equally as significant, if not more so, is Paul's regard, not just for what they did but for what motivated what they did. He acknowledged their faith, their love and their hope in Christ. People can DO many things, but it is why they do what they do that really reveals their character and the well from which they draw what they need to be able to do what they do.
To be appreciated for what one does it one thing—but the more cynical will not be really impressed. But to be recognized for the motivation that spurs the action tells the doer that someone values him or her, not just for being another cog in the great productive wheel, but for something deeper and more significant.
It communicates that someone sees beyond the surface.
To be valued, as Paul acknowledges in this letter to the Thessalonian church, must have been of great encouragement to the believers in that congregation. He goes on to elaborate, to the point of calling them models to all the other believers in the region (1:7). The apostle writes: "How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you" (3:9).
Though Paul was absent from them, he took the trouble to minister to their souls. His letters, full of instructions, teaching, and sometimes of rebuke, also included words of recognition and encouragement.
In our dealings with others, we often do not think about the impact that a few sincere words of recognition and acknowledgment might have. Paul would remember, and learn from, how Barnabas had salvaged the life and ministry of John Mark because Barnabas saw more than just productivity, or the lack thereof, in that young man (Acts 15:36-41).
Thank God for the contributions of others, but don't forget to thank those others for that contribution.