Are you possibly guilty of the nasty habit of ingratitude?  This article by a veteran missionary and fund raising trainer is a real challenge to all of us!

A very thoughtful, non-complaining, gentle retired missionary drew me aside at a recent international missions convention. She was somber!

As gentle as she was, she was greatly concerned - More than one missionary has been to her church in recent years - more than one veteran, more than one new missionary. She said, “Do our missionaries not say thank you anymore?”

“Opportunities for missionaries have been given for them to speak, offerings have been taken up for the missionaries, etc. etc. and sometimes not a personal note or a phone call even, to say thank you. These missionaries stay in our homes and never say thank you. Never a note!”

These things she told me!

I know this seasoned retired missionary well. She is deeply concerned about the nasty habit of ingratitude! She said how will our missionaries ever get and keep their support if they don’t show appreciation.

I didn’t know what to say.

Love and appreciation is a fruit of the Spirit. If we have a nasty habit of ingratitude what does that say about our walk with God.

I spend a lot of time with new missionary candidates about being thankful. We spend time discussing it in our support development training.   It should be a normal expression of love and appreciation.

n March one year, I sent $100 to a missionary friend in another organization. I sent the check to them directly - not to the mission home office - in a few weeks I had a receipt from the mission. It was weeks before I heard from the missionary. This is inexcusable. The nasty habit of ingratitude.

It poisons the desire to give again!

On April one year, I sent a fairly large gift to a friend going with another mission. As of May 1, that year - nearly a month later, I had received nothing from her. Finally, we received a note on May 7.  I got the receipt from the mission headquarters long before I heard from the missionary. Again, the check was sent direct to the missionary.

In both the cases - will I give more - why? “It’s the little foxes that destroy the vine.”

This hits home too. I am guilty too.

In April 1988, I spoke in a church about a three hours drive from our mission headquarters. The church and pastor are strong supporters of the mission. The church took $10 a month in my support. A couple also took $10 a month. The couple gave through January 1993.

No longer are they giving.

I am certain one reason is I didn’t say thank you enough.

I am ashamed, but determined to let this fruit of the Spirit be more effective in my life. We can’t do everything, but we must do what we can.

Appreciation is like an insurance policy. You have to keep renewing it!

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.

Kindness is a hard thing to give away - it usually comes back.

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