Do You Recycle?

He slid in next to me, standing at my side as I greeted people coming into church Sunday morning. “I’ve been wanting to say this for a while,” he smiled, “but God told me to tell you to dream big.” Turn to another Sunday–he jaunts right up to me again, “Did you hear the message?”

            “Yes!” I nodded back, “it was great.”

            “No,” he leaned in closer, “did you hear the message?” 

Mr. Robert is the kind of person whom God endowed with an extra helping of the encouragement/exhortation gift. He and his wife both possess a godliness that makes you wonder how you could ever on this earth attain the same. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Well, Mr. Robert must spend most of his time considering. Countless times he has told me he prayed for me. He always asks–sincerely–what is going on in my life. And, of course, he encourages me in pointed, real ways. 

This month is the thankful month. Thanksgiving Day, much food, seeing anything and everything as a gift to be thankful for, and more food. You do not need to look hard in the Bible to find a plethora on thankfulness, too. A good cross-reference search on the word proves that. ( is great for word searches, by the way.) In those cross-references you would see that Paul, among others, is always thankful. If he is not unceasingly giving thanks for certain brethren (Ephesians 1:15-16; 1 Thessalonians 1:2), he is instructing said brethren to unceasingly give thanks themselves for all things (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

So what about people like Mr. Robert? How can we apply thankfulness here? What about people–in church or out, Christian or not–that God placed in our lives to teach us or bless us?  Consider this–how many people have we learned something from yet never told them how grateful we are for their example? Yes, told them how grateful we are. Like Paul, we share how they have blessed us and why we thank the Father for them.

 I ought to be thankful for a man like Mr. Robert. I certainly am, so I wrote a note once to Mr. Robert thanking him for his prayer and encouragement. It was such a simple, easy little note. The next Sunday his wife caught me first. She pulled me aside, earnestly grateful, “I can’t tell you how much that blessed him.” 

I share this story because of what God taught me through it. At first I thought, “What? You mean I blessed the blesser?” Then He showed me–God recycles thanksgiving. He recycles it powerfully. God is honored and magnified when we thank Him (Psalms 50:23, 69:30). When that spills to a verbal thanks to others, I learned God uses it as a new blessing to those people. 

Thanks is recyclable, friend. God does it all the time if we start it off. We thank God for who (or what) He gives. We verbalize the blessing to others. His blessing spreads. We see Him honored again by the thanks they in turn give back to Him. Paul told the brethren how thankful he was to God for them. In our striving for Christlikeness, let us take this apostles example–never ceasing in giving thanks while making mention of our Mr. Roberts in our prayers.


Stephanie has been serving the past couple of years with Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camp and Conference Staffer. Stephanie was also, a part of the Intern Program in 2010.

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